Bret Harte

(1403 words)
  • Axel Nissen (University of Oslo)

Bret Harte was born Francis Brett Hart on August 25, 1836 in Albany, New York, the third of Henry and Elizabeth Hart's four children. Harte's father was responsible for the change from Hart to Harte sometime in the 1840s, and the author himself would be known as “Bret Harte” from the time of his literary breakthrough in the late 1860s. Harte was of mixed Dutch, English, and Jewish heritage, being descended from the prominent Jewish merchant, Bernard Hart, and the distinguished upper New York state families, the Bretts, the Truesdales, and the Ostranders. Harte's father was a schoolteacher and tutor of Greek, who died when Harte was nine. Harte's formal education ended at age thirteen, probably due to the family's difficult …

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Nissen, Axel. "Bret Harte". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]