John O’Hara. To meet a need which had been felt for some time both in the United States and abroad, the pamphlet series, the University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers, was established in 1959. By providing readable critical introductions to American Writers, the pamphlets were designed to meet the needs and tastes of mature students and readers of imaginative literature throughout the world.
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An author whose books have sold over fifteen million copies and whose popularity has maintained itself firmly since 1934, who has won the National Book Award, and who nevertheless is savagely treated most of the time by most of the critics presents an unusual challenge to the student who undertakes to survey his whole career. The problem is compounded by the fact that, whereas, in my opinion, O’Hara is an extraordinarily good and important writer of short stories and an inferior novelist, his reputation and financial success depend upon his novels.
O’Hara was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in 1905, the...