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Stephen Vincent Benet Biography and Poems

Stephen Vincent Benet Biography and Poems. This is biographical information on Stephen Vincent Benet, one of the best poets of all time. This biography page also provides a link to poems written by Benet, as well as, a video biography...if available.

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Benet, Stephen Vincent

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Stephen Vincent Benét (July 22, 1898 – March 13, 1943) was an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist. Benét is best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body (1928), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, " The Devil and Daniel Webster " (1936) and " By the Waters of Babylon " (1937). In 2009, The Library of America selected Benét’s story “The King of the Cats” (1929) for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub .


Stephen Vincent Benét (July 22, 1898, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania– March 13, 1943) was a United States author, poet, short story writer and novelist. He is best known for his narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body, published in 1928. He won a Pulitzer Prize for this work in 1929.

Benet's fantasy short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" won an O. Henry award, and he furnished the material for a one-act opera by Douglas Moore.

Benét was born into an Army family in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, and spent most of his boyhood in Benicia, California. At the age of about ten, Benét was sent to the Hitchcock Military Academy. A graduate of The Albany Academy in Albany, New York and Yale University, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for "Western Star", an unfinished narrative poem on the settling of America.

It was a line of Benet's poetry that gave the title to Dee Brown's famous history of the destruction of Native American tribes by the United States, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

His brother, William Rose Benét (1886–1950), was a poet, anthologist and critic who is largely remembered for his desk reference, The Reader's Cyclopedia (1948).

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