Stephen Vincent Benét Additional Biography


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Stephen Vincent Benét was born July 22, 1898, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His parents were Frances Neill Rose Benét and James Walker Benét, captain of ordnance, U.S. Army, a man with poetic and literary tastes. Stephen was their third child and second son; his sister and brother were Laura Benét and William Rose Benét, who were both active in the literary world. Well-read from his youth and thoroughly educated, Benét began writing early in his life.

During Benét’s childhood, his family moved throughout the United States because of his father’s position in the Army. Benét and his family were at the Vatervliet, New York, Arsenal from 1899 until 1904; the Rock Island, Illinois, Arsenal during 1904; the Benicia, California, Arsenal from 1905 until 1911; and the Augusta, Georgia, Arsenal from 1911 until he graduated from a coeducational academy and entered Yale College in 1915. There he was with such undergraduates as Archibald MacLeish, Thornton Wilder, Philip Barry, and John Farrar. He left Yale after completing his junior year in 1918 to enlist in the Army, but was honorably discharged because of his bad eyesight. After working briefly for the State Department in Washington, D.C., he reentered Yale. Benét received his B.A. degree in 1919 and his M.A. degree in 1920. At that time, he was given a traveling fellowship by Yale and went to Paris, where he completed his first novel.

Unlike other expatriates in Paris, Benét was not...

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(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Descendant of a grandfather and father, both West Pointers and Army men, Stephen Vincent Benét traveled and lived with his family on military posts throughout the United States. This familiarity with the locales and terrains of the United States provided a rich background to his short stories and poems. Colonel James Walker Benét, an omnivorous reader with a deep love of country and history, inflamed his younger son with these same passions. Like his older brother William Rose Benét, a well-known writer, editor, and magazine founder, Stephen Vincent Benét was graduated from Yale University in 1919. He was given a Yale travel award and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant, permitting him to spend initially eighteen months in France and to attend the Sorbonne in Paris. He lived in France several years and attributed his particular love for the United States to having gained perspective on his native land from his European travels. On his return to the United States in 1923, he published three volumes: King David; The Ballad of William Sycamore, 1790-1880; and Jean Huguenot, a novel. In 1926, he returned with a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to France, where he worked on John Brown’s Body, a poem about the Civil War, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929. He was also elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters the same year. In 1933 he became editor of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition and two years later began reviewing for the New York Herald Tribune and Saturday Review of Literature. In 1936 his short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster” was awarded the O. Henry Memorial Prize for the best American short story of the year. In 1937 his story “Johnny Pye and the Fool-Killer,” and in 1940 “Freedom’s a Hard-Bought Thing,” won similar honors.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111206246-Benet.jpg Stephen Vincent Benét Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Stephen Vincent Benét (beh-NAY) was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on July 22, 1898. His father, Colonel J. Walker Benét, was the third generation of the family to make a career of the Army. Himself interested in literature, he left his mark on his children, William Rose, Stephen Vincent, and Laura. The young Stephen started his career as a writer by winning prizes from St. Nicholas Magazine. He spent his youth mostly on army posts and went to school in Georgia and California. From Yale University he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1919 and his master’s degree in 1920. While at Yale he numbered among his friends Thornton Wilder, Archibald MacLeish, and Philip Barry. During his senior year he served as editor of the...

(The entire section is 506 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Stephen Vincent Benét was born on July 22, 1898 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He felt a strong military influence during his childhood from...

(The entire section is 481 words.)