Today is the birthday of the great American progressive novelist Frank Norris (1870-1902). Influenced by Zola, Darwin and Spencer, he was an almost exact contemporary of Theodore Dreiser, whose work his resembles, to my eyes. Today his work is much better known for the cinematic adaptations of his writings though. McTeague (1899) was turned into Erich Von Stroheim’s Greed (1924), and his short story “A Deal in Wheat” (1903) and novel The Pit (posthumous, 1903) were turned by D.W. Griffith into A Corner in Wheat (1909), an excellent little film I mention in my new book Chain of Fools. Sadly, Norris missed all the attention his work was to receive from those films. He died at age 32 of peritonitis following a burst appendix.
And now, A Corner in Wheat
Don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc