What is Frederick Schiller Faust's pen name, and what did he contribute to American literature?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Frederick Schiller Faust was a writer of Western novels, among many other things, and often used the pseudonym Max Brand. He lived from 1892 – 1944 and spent his early years in California. He worked extraordinarily hard as a child and a young man, and his resentment about having to work so hard when he was so young shows itself in many of his works, as his protagonists are often confronted with laborious tasks they must overcome. Later he became a ranch hand on several cattle ranches in the San Joaquin Valley, and writing became one of his primary forms of escape from the physical rigors of his life.

Faust went to school at the University of California at Berkeley where he wrote for most of the school's literary and other publications, though he never graduated. He did, however, enjoy his exposure to classical literature and mythology. He spent a year in the Canadian army but after a year he deserted and settled in New York City. He tried to enlist in the American military during World War I, but he was rejected.

Faust married Dorothy Schillig and had three children. He wrote consistently as an adult but mostly for what is known as pulp magazines, cheap but popular collections of short or serialized fiction. Faust wrote under many other pen names, including George Owen Baxter, George Challis,Evan Evans, George Evans, John Frederick, Frederick Frost, David Manning, and Peter Morland. 

In the 1930s, Faust experienced significant commercial success, including the creation of a Western character known as Destry who was featured in several films. His most recognizable success, however, was the creation of Dr. Kildare, a character who ended up in radio, television, movies, and even comic books.

Despite the commercial success, Faust never claimed these works by giving them his real name. Only his literary poetry deserved his true name. He was a student of classic mythology, and this added a certain intangible depth to all of his writing.

He became a war correspondent on the front lines during World War II and was mortally wounded by shrapnel. President Roosevelt commended Faust for his bravery. 

The greatest legacy Faust leaves is how prolific a writer he was. In his lifetime, he wrote more than 500 novels and nearly 500 short stories, all for the magazines to which he contributed. 

His total literary output is estimated to have been between 25,000,000 and 30,000,000 words.... New books based on magazine serials or previously unpublished works authored by him continue to appear, so that Faust has averaged a new book every four months for seventy-five years. Moreover, some work by him is reprinted every week each year, in one format or another, somewhere in the world.

 According the official Max Brand website, Faust was known as one of the "world's greatest storytellers." He wrote all genres of literature including allegories, dreams, fairy tales, fantasies, legends, parables, poetry, psycho-dramas, and romances. Perhaps the name "Max Brand" has become associated primarily with the Western genre, but he was a talented and prolific writer in many genres.