Only in a time when the pressure of the world amou

nts to angst and the fight for freedom can a world advance in it’s literary achievements. A writer, just like an artist, builds his creations from the mood and settings of the surrounding atmosphere. In the first half of the twentieth century, the atmosphere was filled with resources to stimulate literary creativity, such as the second World War and the Great Depression (Roache 102: 14). The social genre of the time gave way to the broad appeal to American life and the focus of freedom leading to original stories and historical themes (Folsom 3: 953). Of course, the past would remain a constant influence. Some common topics were the Civil War and the settlement of western U.S. frontier life (Magill 1: 174). Stephen Vincent Benet took all these factors into mind during his life as a twentieth century writer/poet. Keeping the times, the life, and the literature of Stephen Vincent Benet a major part of his influence and achievements, he helped push America towards a united cultural victory.

Stephen Vincent Benet was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to James Walker Benet, a career military officer, and Francis Neill Rose Benet on the twenty-second of July 1898 (Roache 102: 11, 13). He described himself as a positive-thinking and modest man, who is thin, attractive, vivacious, whereas his wife and his mother-in-law would consider him a plain, tall, large biter-of-nails who carries a foolish expression, but whose intellect is too much for words (Parsekian 1).

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He couldn’t have been too foolish of a person due to his positive upbringing. Benet’s parents planned for him to be a success in whatever he chose to do. Their open-mindedness encouraged him to explore books and ideas in a professional state., as well as to appreciate and take literature and history very seriously (Roache 102: 13). Because of this upbringing, all three Benet children became poets and authors. (Stephen Vincent Benet was the youngest of them.) Much influence over the Benets came from love for the country because James’ military work called for traveling between Georgia, California, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania (Griffith 11).

Benet’s education shows how successful he really was. He entered Yale University at 17 years old, when he published his first book. About that time, he became professional with New York writers (Roache 102: 13). Stephen Vincent Benet earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1919 and his Master of Arts degree in 1920 at Yale before accepting a fellowship to Paris where he could live cheaply and write his first novel and would later find his wife. One attempt to enlist in the army and follow in the footsteps of his father failed in 1918, leading him to a job working for the State Department in Washington, DC before re-entering Yale (Magill 1: 171). In 1929, Benet was entered into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1938, which he stayed a member of until his death (Folsom 3: 954).

While in Yale, Benet held many other jobs such as editor, contributor, and chairman of the Yale Literary Magazine, then editor and contributor of the undergraduate humor magazine Yale Record. These jobs gave way to him working on S4N, a New Haven magazine of poetry. In 1919, Benet published the play of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlains the Great (1590) with Monty Wooley by Yale University Press. In 1920, he published Heavens and Earth as his thesis during his graduate study in England by Holt (Griffith 12). Other editorial jobs include reviewing for the New York Herald Tribune and the Saturday Review of Literature, and the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 1933 (Magill 1: 71). In 1945, Benet published a collection of radio scripts called We Stand United, and Other Radio Scripts as a propagandistic war effort that he felt was his destiny (Magill 1: 170).

Another destiny was marriage. He married Rosemary Carr on November 26, 1921 through the fellowship to Paris in 1920. They started living in Chicago, then Paris, Hollywood, and New York (Roache 102: 13). She was an unpretentious only child who never said mean things to anyone (Parsekian 1). She gave him three children: Stephani Jane (1924), Thomas Carr (1925), and Rachel


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