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Ray (1920-

Ray Douglas Bradbury wrote over 500 published literary works.
He was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22nd, 1920. He moved with his family to Tucson, Arizona, when he was six, but returned to Waukegan the following year. In 1932, Bradbury廣 father lost his job and the family again moved to Tucson, only to return to Waukegan the next year. In 1934, when Bradbury was 14, the family moved permanently to Los Angeles, California. Mr. Bradbury still resides in Los Angeles, but regards Waukegan as his hometown and has used it as the setting (1) of two of his novels under the pseudonym of Green Town.
In his youth, Bradbury developed a love of magic and had aspirations of becoming a magician. Encouraged in his creativity by his family, Bradbury turned to writing at a young age. In 1937, at the age of 17, Bradbury became a member of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League, in which he published his first work. Bradbury廣 first short story (2) was published in Weird Tales when the author was 20. This was the first of many professional publications of Bradbury廣 work, which includes Dark Carnival (1947), Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953), Dandelion Wine (1957), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962), Death is a Lonely Business (1985), The April Witch (1987), Death Has Lost Its Charm (1987), The Toynbee Collector (1988), Graveyard for Lunatics (1990), Folon廣 Folon廣 (1990) in addition to Fahrenheit 451 (1953).
Ray Bradbury is most widely regarded as a science fiction writer, but he has not limited himself to that genre. He has produced both works of drama and psychological realism in addition to his science fiction works.
Mr. Bradbury, the father or four, currently (3) resides in Los Angeles, where he continues to write and speak and enjoys painting and collects Mexican artwork.

setting : décor
(2) short story : nouvelle (genre littéraire)
(3) currently : actuellement

Fahrenheit 451

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Fenimore (1789 - 1851)
American author, famous for his stories of frontier life and pioneer adventure. His most popular work is The Last of the Mohicans (1832).
He was the son of a wealthy (1), landowning Judge William Cooper, born in Burlington, New Jersey. The year after his birth, the family moved to Cooperstown, New York, a frontier settlement founded by Judge Cooper near Otsego Lake.
Sent to Yale at thirteen, Cooper was expelled (2) in his third year and was sent to sea. In 1811, he married Susan DeLancey and settled down as a gentleman farmer.
The first of Cooper's fifty books, Precaution (1820), was not a success, but his second, The Spy (1821), was a patriotic story of the American Revolution and was an immediate success. He and his wife lived abroad (3) from 1826 to 1833, and during this time he vigorously defended American democracy in his writings.

But when he came back to the United States he was so disgusted by (4) what he saw (tyranny of the majority), that he acquired conservative and aristocratic views which made him unpopular. In 1823, Cooper published The Pioneers : his fascination with frontier adventure started. In Natty Bumpo, the hero of his "Leatherstocking" novels, Cooper created the archetype of the rugged (5) frontier woodman (6). Other worksby Cooper : The Deerslayer (1840) and The Pathfinder (1841).
Cooper died on September 14th, 1851 and was buried in the cemetery of Cooperstown.

wealthy : riche, aisé
(2) expelled : renvoyé
(3) abroad :
à l'étranger
(4) disgusted by : dégôuté par
(5) rugged : rude
(6) woodman : forestier
(7) spare : dépouillé, sobre
(8) understatement : litote (affirmation en-dessous de la vérité)
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William (1897-1962)
William Faulkner came from an old southern family and he grew up in Oxford, Mississippi. He joined the Canadian, and later the British, Royal Air Force during the First World War, studied at the University of Mississippi, and temporarily worked for a New York bookstore and a New Orleans newspaper. Except for some trips to Europe and Asia, and a few short stays in Hollywood as a scriptwriter (1) , he worked on his novels and short stories on a farm in Oxford.
He wanted to create a saga, so he invented a series of characters typical of the historical growth (2) and decadence of the South. The world he created was called the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County and its inhabitants. Their theme is the decay (3) of the old South, as represented by the Sartoris and Compson families, and the emergence of ruthless (4) newcomers (5), the Snopeses.
Faulkner used the inner (6) monologue, for example in The Sound and the Fury (1929). The novel Sanctuary (1931) is about the degeneration of Temple Drake, a young girl from a distinguished southern family. Its sequel (7), Requiem For A Nun (1951), written partly as a drama (8), centered on the courtroom trial of a Negro woman who was a party to Temple Drake's debauchery.
The theme of racial prejudice is in Light in August (1932) and again in Absalom, Absalom! (1936), in which a young man is rejected by his father and brother because of his mixed blood. And also in Intruder In the Dust (1948). In 1940, Faulkner published the first volume of the Snopes trilogy, The Hamlet, to be followed by two volumes, The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959).
The Reivers
, his last and most humorous work, with great many similarities to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, appeared in 1962, the year of Faulkner's death.

scriptwriter : scénariste
(2) growth : croissance
(3) decay : déclin, décadence
(4) ruthless : impitoyable
(5) newcomers : nouveaux venus
(6) inner : intérieur
(7) sequel : suite
(8) drama : pièce de théâtre
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Scott (1896-1940)

. Scott Fitzgerald is famous for his novels and short stories which deal with (1) the excesses of America's "Jazz Age" during the 1920s.
Born into a fairly (2) rich family in St Paul, Minnesota in 1896 Fitzgerald attended (3), but never graduated (4) from Princeton University. In 1917 he was drafted into (5) the army, but he never saw active service abroad (6). Instead (7), he spent much of his time writing and re-writing his first novel This Side of Paradise (1920) which became an instant success. In the same year he married the beautiful Zelda Sayre and together they embarked on a rich life of endless parties (8).
Dividing their time between America and fashionable resorts (9) in Europe, the Fitzgeralds became as famous for their lifestyle as for the novels he wrote. Fitzgerald once said 'Sometimes I don't know whether Zelda and I are real or whether we are characters in one of my novels'. He followed his first success with The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), and The Great Gatsby (1925) which Fitzgerald considered his masterpiece. It was also at this time that Fitzgerald wrote many of his short stories which helped to pay for his extravagant lifestyle. The bubble burst in the 1930s when Zelda became increasingly troubled by mental illness. Tender is the Night (1934), the story of Dick Diver and his schizophrenic wife Nicole, shows the pain that Fitzgerald felt. The book was not well received in America and he turned to script-writing (10) in Hollywood for the final three years of his life. It was at this time he wrote the autobiographical essays collected posthumously in The Crack-Up and his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon. He died in 1940.

deal with : traiter de
(2) fairly : assez
(3) attended :
a suivi les cours
(4) never graduated : n'a jamais obtenu de diplôme
(5) was drafted into : fut appelé sous les drapeaux, fut incorporé
(6) abroad : à l'étranger
(7) instead : au contraire (instead of : à la place de)
(8) endless parties : fêtes incessantes
(9) fashionable resorts : lieux de vacances à la mode
(10) script-writing : écriture de scénario
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Ernest (1899-1961)
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, he started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. After the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded (1), was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.
During the 1920s, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). A Farewell to Arms (1929) was very successful too. It is about an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).
Among his later works, the most famous is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely (2) struggle (3) with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat. Hemingway - himself a great sportsman - liked to portray soldiers, hunters whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope (4) and faith (5). His straightforward (6) prose, his spare (7) dialogue, and his predilection for understatement (8) are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938).
Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.

wounded : blessé
(2) lonely : solitaire
(3) struggle :
(4) hope : l'espoir
(5) faith : la foi
(6) straightforward : direct, simple
(7) spare : dépouillé, sobre
(8) understatement : litote (affirmation en-dessous de la vérité)
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Sinclair (1885-1951)
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, in 1885. Although he was proud (1) of his Midwestern roots (2), he travelled widely and was interested in many different aspects of American society, from business and medicine to religion and small town life. His concern with issues (3) involving women, race, and the powerless in society make his work still vital and pertinent today. As Sheldon Norman Grebstein wrote in his work Sinclair Lewis, Lewis "was the conscience of his generation and he could well serve as the conscience of our own. His analysis of the America of the 1920s holds true (4) for the America of today. His prophecies have become our truths and his fears (5) our most crucial problems."
Sinclair Lewis was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Main Street and Babbitt, and won the award for Arrowsmith (although he didn't accept it). He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He died in Rome in 1951.

proud : fier
(2) roots : racines, origines
(3) issues : thèmes de société, problèmes
(4) true : vrai
(5) fears : peurs, craintes
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Jack (1876-1916)
Prolific American novelist and short story writer.
Jack London was born on January 12th, 1876, in San Francisco. He was deserted by his father, William Henry Chaney, , and raised in Oakland by his mother Flora Wellman, a music teacher and spiritulist, and stepfather John London, whose surname he took. London's youth (1) was marked by poverty. At the age of ten he became an avid reader, and borrowed (2) books from the Oakland Public Library (3). After leaving school at the age of 14, London worked as a seaman, rode in freight trains as a hobo (4) and adopted socialistic views as a member of protest armies of the unemployed. In 1894 he was arrested in Niagara Falls and jailed for vagrancy (5). Without much education, London educated himself in public libraries, and at the age of 19 gained admittance to the University of California at Berkeley. He had already started to write. London again tried to earn his living by (6) writing. His early stories appeared in the Overland Monthly and the Atlantic Monthly.
In 1900 he married Elisabeth Maddern, but left her and their two daughters three years afterwards, and married Charmian Kittredge. In 1901 London ran unsuccessfully on the Socialist party ticket for mayor of Oakland.
He started to produce novels, nonfiction and short stories, becoming in his lifetime one of the most popular authors. London's first novel, The Son Of The Wolf, appeared in 1900. His Alaska stories, The Call Of The Wild (L'appel de la forêt)(1903), in which a giant pet dog Buck finds his survival instincts in Yukon, White Fang (Croc Blanc) (1906) and Burning Daylight (1910) gained a large reading public. Among his other works are The Sea-Wolf (1904) and The Road, a collection of short stories.
In 1902 London went to England, where he studied the living conditions in East End and working class areas of the capital city. His report about the economic degradation of the poor, The People Of The Abyss (Le peuple de l'abime)(1903), was a surprise success in the U.S. but criticized in England. In 1906, he published his first collection of non-fiction pieces, The War Of The Classes, which included his lectures (7) on socialism. London also published a semi-autobiographical novel Martin Eden (1909) and a travel book The Cruise of the Snark (1911). London had purchased in 1910 a large tract of land near Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, and devoted his energy and money improving and enlarging his Beauty Ranch. In 1913 London's Beauty Ranch burnt to the ground, and his doctor told him that his kidneys (8) were failing (9). A few months before his death, London resigned (10) from the Socialist Party. Debts, alcoholism, illness, and fear of losing his creativity darkened the author's last years.
He died on November 22nd, 1916, officially of gastro-intestinal uremia. However, there have also been speculations that London committed suicide with morphine.

(1) youth :
(2) borrowed : empruntait
(3) library :
(4) hobo :
(5) jailed for vagrancy :
emprisonné pour vagabondage

(6) tried to earn his living by : essaya de gagner sa vie en
(7) lectures : conférences
(8) kidneys : reins
(9) failing : avaient une défaillance
(10) resigned : démissionna

Call of the Wild
L'appel de la forêt
White Fang Croc Blanc

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Herman (1819-1891)
American author, best known for his novels of the sea and especially for his masterpiece Moby Dick (1851), a whaling adventure dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The work was only recognized as a masterpiece years after Melville's death. The fictionalized travel narrative Typee (1846) was Melville's most popular book during his lifetime.
Herman Melville was born on August 1st, 1819 in New York City into a merchant family. His father became bankrupt (1) and insane (2), dying when Melville was 12. A bout of scarlet fever in 1826 left Melville with permanently weakened eyesight (3). He attended Albany (N.Y.) Classical School in 1835. From the age of 12, he worked as a clerk, teacher, and farmhand. In search of adventures, he shipped out in 1839 as a cabin boy on the whaler (4) Achushnet. He later joined the US Navy, and started long voyages on ships, sailing both the Atlantic and the South Seas. Typee, an account of his stay with cannibals, was first published in Britain, like most of his works. Its sequel, Omoo (1847), was based on his experiences in the Polynesian Islands, andwas as successful as the first one.
Throughout (5) his career Melville enjoyed a rather higher estimation in Britain than in America. His third book, Mardi And A Voyage Thither was published in 1849. In 1847 Melville married Elisabeth Shaw, daughter of the chief justice of Massachusetts. After three yeas in New York, he bought a farm, "Arrowhead", near Nathaniel Hawthorne's home at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and became friends with him for some time.
Inspired by the suggestions of Hawthorne, Melville wrote his masterpiece, Moby Dick. When the novel was published, it did not bring him the fame (6) he had acquired in the 1840s. Only some critics and very few readers noted its brilliance. Through the narrator of Moby Dick, Ishmael, the author meditated questions about faith and the workings of God (7)'s intelligence. He returned to these meditations in his last great work, Billy Budd, a story left unfinished at his death and posthumously published in 1924.
Melville died of heart failure on September 28th, 1891.

(1) became bankrupt :
fit faillite
(2) insane : fou
(3) weakened eyesight : vue affaiblie
(4) whaler : baleinier
(5) throughout : tout au long de
(6) fame : célébrité
(7) God : Dieu

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Edgar Allan (1809-1849)

American poet, a master of the horror tale, credited with practically inventing the detective story.
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who were itinerant actors. His father David Poe Jr. died probably in 1810 and his mother Elizabeth Hopkins Poe in 1811. Edgar was taken into the home of a Richmond merchant John Allan and was brought up (1) partly in England (1815-20), where he attended Manor School at Stoke Newington. Never legally adopted, Poe took Allan's name for his middle name. Poe attended the University of Virginia (1826), but was expelled for not paying his gambling debts (2). This led to a quarrel with Allan, who later disowned (3) him.
In 1827 Poe joined the U.S. Army as a common soldier under assumed name and age. In 1830 Poe entered West Point and was dishonorably discharged the next year, for intentional neglect of his duties (4). Little is known about his life in this time, but in 1833 he lived in Baltimore with his father's sister. After winning a prize of $50 for the short story MS Found in a Bottle, he started a career as a staff member of various magazines. During these years he wrote some of his best-known stories. In 1836 Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm. She burst a blood vessel in 1842, and remained an invalid until her death from tuberculosis five years later.
After the death of his wife, Poe began to lose his struggle with drinking and drugs. He addressed the famous poem Annabel Lee (1849) to her. Poe's first collection, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, appeared in 1840. It contained one of his most famous works : The Fall of the House of Usher. During the early 1840s Poe's best-selling work was The Conchologist's First Book (1839). The dark poem of lost love, The Raven, brought Poe national fame, when it appeared in 1845. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) and The Purloined Letter are among Poe's most famous detective stories. Poe was also one of the most prolific literary journalists in American history. Poe suffered from bouts (5) of depression and madness, and he attempted suicide in 1848. In September the following year he disappeared for three days after a drink at a birthday party and on his way to visit his new fiance in Richmond.
He turned up in a delirious condition in Baltimore gutter and died on October 7th, 1849.

(1) was brought up :
fut élevé
(2) gambling debts : dettes de jeu

(3) disowned : renia
(4) duties : obligations, devoirs
(5) bouts : accès, attaques

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Purloined Letter

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John (1802-1868)

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. He came from a family of moderate means (1). He studied at Stanford University but never graduated (2). In 1925 he went to New York, where he tried for a few years to establish himself as a free-lance (3) writer, but he failed (4) and returned to California. After publishing some novels and short stories, Steinbeck first became widely known with Tortilla Flat (1935), a series of humorous stories about Monterey paisanos. Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour, but there is also some worship (5) of the soil (6) in his books. After the humour of Tortilla Flat, he moved on to more serious fiction, often aggressive in its social criticism, to In Dubious Battle (1936), which deals with the strikes (7) of the migratory fruit pickers on California plantations. This was followed by Of Mice and Men (Des souris et des hommes)(1937), the story of the imbecile giant Lennie, and a series of admirable short stories collected in the volume The Long Valley (1938). In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, The Grapes of Wrath (Les raisins de la colère), the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers (8) who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers. Among his later worksare East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue (9) in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck (10) that led him through forty American states.
He died in New York City in 1968.

(1) of moderate means :
(2) never graduated : n'obtint jamais son diplôme
(3) free-lance : indépendant
(4) failed : échoua
(5) worship : culte, vénération
(6) soil : la terre
(7) strikes : grèves
(8) tenant farmers : métayers (personnes qui louent un domaine rural)
(9) travelogue : récit de voyage
(10) truck : camion (British English : lorry)

The Grapes of Wrath

Of Mice and Men
The Pearl

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Mark (1835-1910)

Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was an American writer, journalist and humorist, who won a worldwide (1) audience for his stories of the youthful (2) adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Clemens was born on November 30th, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He was brought up (3) in Hannibal, Missouri. After his father's death in 1847, he was apprenticed to a printer (4) and wrote for his brother's newspaper. He later worked as a licensed Mississippi river-boat pilot. The Civil War (5) put an end to the steamboat traffic and Clemens moved to Virginia City, where he edited the Territorial Enterprise.

On February 3rd, 1863, 'Mark Twain' was born when Clemens signed a humorous travel account with that pseudonym. In 1864 Twain left for California, and worked in San Francisco as a reporter. He visited Hawaii as a correspondent for The Sacramento Union, publishing letters on his trip and giving lectures. He set out on a world tour, travelling in France and Italy. His experiences were recorded in 1869 in The Innocents Abroad, which gained him wide popularity, and poked fun at (6) both American and European prejudices and manners. The success as a writer gave Twain enough financial security to marry Olivia Langdon in 1870. They moved the next year to Hartford. Twain continued to lecture (7) in the United States and England.
Between 1876 and 1884 he published several masterpieces, Tom Sawyer (1881) and The Prince And The Pauper (1881). Life on the Mississippi appeared in 1883 and Huckleberry Finn in 1884. In the 1890s Twain lost most of his earnings (8) in financial speculations and in the failure of his own publishing firm. To recover from the bankruptcy, he started a world lecture tour, during which one of his daughters died. Twain toured New Zealand, Australia, India, and South Africa. He wrote such books as The Tragedy Of Pudd'head Wilson (1884), Personal Recollections Of Joan Of Arc (1885), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) and the travel book Following The Equator (1897). During his long writing career, Twain also produced a considerable number of essays. The death of his wife and his second daughter darkened the author's later years, which is seen in his posthumously published autobiography (1924).
Twain died on April 21st, 1910.

(1) worldwide :
(2) youthful : de jeunesse
(3) brought up : élevé
(4) printer : imprimeur
(5) the Civil War : La Guerre de Sécession (1861-1865)
(6) poked fun at : se moquait de
(7) to lecture : faire des conférences
(8) earnings : gains, bénéfices

Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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