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MacKinlay Kantor

mackinlay kantor, mackinlay kantor biography
MacKinlay Kantor February 4, 1904 – October 11, 1977, born Benjamin McKinlay Kantor, was an American journalist, novelist and screenwriter He wrote more than 30 novels, several set during the American Civil War, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956 for his 1955 novel, Andersonville He also wrote the novel Gettysburg, set during the Civil War

Contents

  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Marriage and family
  • 3 Career
    • 31 Stories, journalism, and novels
    • 32 Films
    • 33 Publishing
  • 4 Death
  • 5 Bibliography
    • 51 Novels
    • 52 Collections
    • 53 Children's and young-adult books
    • 54 Nonfiction
    • 55 Highly anthologised stories
  • 6 Filmography
  • 7 Legacy and honors
  • 8 References
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 External links

Early life and education

Kantor was born and grew up in Webster City, Iowa, the second child and only son in his family He had a sister, Virginia His mother, Effie McKinlay Kantor, worked as the editor of the Webster City Daily News during part of his childhood His father, John Martin Kantor, was a native-born Swedish Jew descended from "a long line of rabbis, who posed as a Protestant clergyman" His mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry Later, MacKinlay Kantor wrote an unpublished novel called Half Jew Kantor's father had trouble keeping jobs and abandoned the family before Kantor was born His mother returned to her parents in Webster City, Mr and Mrs Adam McKinlay, to live at their home with her children

As a child, the boy started using his middle name McKinlay as his given name He changed its spelling, adding an "a", because he thought it sounded more Scottish, and chose to be called "Mack" or MacKinlay He attended the local schools and described the Kendall Young Public Library as his "university" Kantor won a writing contest with his first story, "Purple"

Marriage and family

Kantor married Florence Irene Layne, and they had two children together Their son Tim Kantor wrote a memoir of his father, titled My Father’s Voice: MacKinlay Kantor Long Remembered 1988 His grandson, Tom Shroder wrote a biography of his grandfather titled, The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived: A True Story of My Family Blue Rider Press, 2016

Career

Stories, journalism, and novels

From 1928 to 1934, Kantor wrote numerous stories for pulp fiction magazines, to earn a living and support his family; these works included crime stories and mysteries He sold his first pulp stories, "Delivery Not Received" and "A Bad Night for Benny", to Edwin Baird, editor of Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories He also wrote for Detective Fiction Weekly In 1928, Kantor published his first novel, Diversey, set in Chicago, Illinois

In 1932, Kantor moved with his family from the Midwest to New Jersey, in the New York metropolitan area He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by activist Bolton Hall in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey In two years, he sold 16 short stories and a serialized novel to Howard Bloomfield, editor of Detective Fiction Weekly He also acquired a professional agent, Sydney Sanders

Achieving some success by 1934, Kantor began to submit short stories to the "slick magazines" glossies His "Rogue's Gallery", published in Collier on August 24, 1935, became his most frequently reprinted story

It was during this decade that Kantor first wrote about the American Civil War, beginning with his novel Long Remember 1934, set at the Battle of Gettysburg As a boy and teenager in Iowa, Kantor had spent hours listening to the stories of Civil War veterans, and he was an avid collector of first-hand narratives

During World War II, Kantor reported from London as a war correspondent for a Los Angeles newspaper After flying with some bombing missions, he asked for and received training to operate the bomber's turret machine guns, although he was not in service and this violated regulations Kantor interviewed numerous wounded troops, whose thoughts and ideas inspired a later novel of his

When Kantor interviewed US troops, many told him the only goal was to get home alive He was reminded of the Protestant hymn: "When all my labors and trials are o'er / And I am safe on that beautiful shore , O that will be / Glory for me!" Kantor returned from the European theater of war on military air transport MAT After the war, the producer Samuel Goldwyn commissioned him to write a screenplay about veterans' returning home Kantor wrote a novel in blank verse, which was published as Glory for Me 1945 After selling the movie rights to his novel, Kantor was disappointed that the film was released under the title The Best Years of Our Lives 1946, and that details of the story had been changed by the screenwriter Robert Sherwood Kantor was said to have lost his temper with Goldwyn and walked off the Hollywood lot The first 15 seconds of the movie note that it is "based upon a novel by MacKinlay Kantor", but the novel's title was not given The film was a commercial and critical success, winning seven Academy Awards

Beginning in 1948, Kantor arranged an intensive period of research with the New York City Police Department NYCPD He was the only civilian other than reporters allowed to ride with police on their beat He often rode on night shifts, working with the 23rd Precinct, whose territory ranged from upper Park Avenue to East Harlem, comprising a wide range of residents and incomes These experiences informed most of his short crime novels, as well as his major work Signal Thirty-Two, published in 1950 with jacket art by his wife Irene Layne Kantor

Kantor was noted for his limited use of punctuation within his literary compositions He was known for a lack of quotation marks and was influential in this regard on Cormac McCarthy, who said that Kantor was the first writer he encountered who left them out Kantor was one of three primary influences on McCarthy's adopting his unique style

During his assignment with the US troops in World War II, Kantor entered the Buchenwald concentration camp as they liberated it on April 14, 1945 During the next decade, that experience informed his research for and writing of Andersonville 1955, his novel about the Confederate prisoner of war camp One of the problems he struggled with in Germany and afterward was how to think of the civilians who lived near Buchenwald As he struggled to understand, he developed ideas which he expressed in his novel, where he portrayed some civilian Southerners sympathetically, in contrast to officers at the camp He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956 for Andersonville 1955

In writing more than 30 novels, Kantor often returned to the theme of the American Civil War He wrote two works for young readers set in the Civil War years: Lee and Grant at Appomattox 1950 and Gettysburg 1952

In the November 22, 1960, issue of Look magazine, Kantor published a fictional account set as a history text, entitled If the South Had Won the Civil War This generated such a response that it was published in 1961 as a book It is one of many alternate histories of that war

Kantor's last novel was Valley Forge 1975

Films

In addition to journalism and novels, Kantor wrote the screenplay for Gun Crazy aka Deadly Is the Female 1950, a film noir It was based on his short story by the same name, published February 3, 1940, in The Saturday Evening Post Moreover, several of his novels were adapted for films by other writers

In 1992, it was revealed that he had allowed his name to be used on a screenplay written by Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, who had been blacklisted as a result of his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee HUAC hearings Kantor passed his payment on to Trumbo to help him survive

Kantor acted in the film Wind Across the Everglades 1958

Publishing

He established his own publishing house, and published several of his works in the 1930s and 1940s

Death

Kantor died of a heart attack in 1977, aged 73, at his home in Sarasota, Florida

Bibliography

Novels

  • Diversey 1928
  • El Goes South 1930
  • The Jaybird 1932
  • Long Remember 1934
  • The Voice of Bugle Ann 1935
  • Arouse and Beware 1936
  • The Romance of Rosy Ridge 1937
  • The Noise of Their Wings 1938
  • Here Lies Holly Springs 1938
  • Valedictory Illustrated by Amos Sewell 1939
  • Cuba Libre 1940
  • Gentle Annie 1942
  • Happy Land 1943
  • Glory for Me 1945
  • Midnight Lace 1948
  • The Good Family 1949
  • Wicked Water 1949
  • One Wild Oat 1950
  • Signal Thirty-Two 1950
  • Don't Touch Me 1951
  • Warwhoop: Two Short Novels of the Frontier 1952
  • The Daughter of Bugle Ann 1953
  • God and My Country 1954
  • Andersonville 1955
  • Frontier: Tales of the American Adventure 1959
  • The Unseen Witness 1959
  • Spirit Lake 1961
  • If the South Had Won the Civil War 1961 Originally published in Look magazine, November 22, 1960
  • Beauty Beast 1968
  • I Love You, Irene 1973
  • The Children Sing 1974
  • Valley Forge 1975

Collections

  • Turkey in the Straw: A Book of American Ballads and Primitive Verse 1935
  • Author's Choice stories 1944
  • Silent Grow the Guns, and Other Tales of the American Civil War stories 1958
  • It's About Crime stories 1960
  • The Gun-Toter, and Other Stories of the Missouri Hills stories 1963
  • Story Teller stories and essays 1967

Children's and young-adult books

  • Angleworms on Toast Illustrated by Kurt Wiese 1942
  • Lee and Grant at Appomattox Illustrated by Donald McKay 1950
  • Gettysburg Illustrated by Donald McKay 1952
  • The Work of Saint Francis Illustrated by Johannes Troyer 1958

Nonfiction

  • But Look, the Morn: The Story of a Childhood memoir 1939; 1941; then after establishing his own publishing company, he published the book in 1947; 1951
  • Lobo 1958
  • Mission with LeMay: My Story, by Curtis LeMay with MacKinlay Kantor 1965
  • The Day I Met a Lion memoir/essays 1968
  • Missouri Bittersweet 1969
  • Hamilton County 1970

Highly anthologised stories

  • A Man Who Had No Eyes

Filmography

Films
  • The Voice of Bugle Ann novel 1936
  • Mountain Music story 1937
  • The Man from Dakota novel, Arouse and Beware 1940
  • Happy Land novel 1943
  • Gentle Annie novel 1944
  • The Best Years of Our Lives novel, Glory for Me 1946
  • The Romance of Rosy Ridge novel 1947
  • Gun Crazy story and screenplay 1950
  • Hannah Lee film: An American Primitive novel, Wicked Water 1953
  • Wind Across the Everglades actor 1958
  • Follow Me, Boys! novel, God and My Country 1966
Television
  • Lux Video Theatre, episode "Forever Walking Free" story 1951
  • Studio One in Hollywood, episode "Signal Thirty-Two" novel 1953
  • The 20th Century Fox Hour, episode "In Times Like These" novel, Happy Land 1956

Legacy and honors

  • 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Andersonville 1955
  • 1976, Kantor-Mollenhoff Plaza in West Twin Park, Webster City, Iowa, was named in honor of him and the author Clark R Mollenhoff, as part of the city's Bicentennial Celebration
  • 1989, MacKinlay Kantor Drive in Webster City was named in his honor
  • Original editions of his more than 40 books were donated to the Kendall Young Library in Webster City by his longtime friend Richard Whiteman, who also donated more than $1 million to a library expansion

References

  1. ^ a b c Kidd, Robin L 2001 "MacKinlay Kantor" In Greasley, Philip A Dictionary of Midwestern Literature Volume One: The Authors Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press p 251 ISBN 0-253-33609-0 Retrieved June 27, 2010 
  2. ^ "Review of Tim Kantor, 'My Father's Voice: MacKinlay Kantor Long Remembered'" Publishers Weekly Retrieved October 17, 2010 
  3. ^ Michael Shaara 1994 Three Great Novels of the Civil War Wings Books 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Apostolou, John Spring 1997 "MacKinlay Kantor" The Armchair Detective Retrieved October 17, 2010  republished on Mystery File
  5. ^ a b c d e Nass, Martin E October 29, 1999 "MacKinlay Kantor - Pulitzer Prize Winner" Daily Freeman-Journal, Millennium Edition Archived from the original Archived at the website of Martin E "Ed" Nass on August 20, 2010 Retrieved June 27, 2010 
  6. ^ Kantor, Tim 1988 My Father’s Voice: MacKinlay Kantor Long Remembered ISBN 9780070332768 
  7. ^ Buchan, Perdita February 7, 2008 "Utopia, NJ" New Jersey Monthly Retrieved February 27, 2011  "Free Acres had some famous residents in those heady early days: actors James Cagney and Jersey City–born Victor Kilian, writers Thorne Smith Topper and MacKinlay Kantor Andersonville, and anarchist Harry Kelly, who helped found the Ferrer Modern School, centerpiece of the anarchist colony at Stelton in present-day Piscataway"
  8. ^ Orriss, Bruce 1984 When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II Hawthorn, California: Aero Associates Inc p 119 ISBN 9780961308803 OCLC 11709474  No online access
  9. ^ Easton, Carol 2014 "The Best Years" The Search for Sam Goldwyn Carl Rollyson contributor Univ Press of Mississippi ISBN 9781626741324 Andrews looked at the onionskin pages and asked, 'Mac, why did you write this in blank verse' 'Dana', said Kantor with a wry smile, 'I can't afford to write in blank verse, because nobody buys anything written in blank verse But when Sam asked me to write this story, he didn't tell me not to write it in blank verse!' 
  10. ^ Levy, Emanuel April 4, 2015 "Oscar History: Best Picture–Best Years of Our Lives 1946" review Emanuel Levy: Cinema 24/7 Retrieved 2017-01-16 
  11. ^ "Cormac McCarthy's Three Punctuation Rules, and How They All Go Back to James Joyce" Retrieved 2015-09-29 
  12. ^ McCarthy, Cormac 2007 "interview" The Oprah Winfrey Show Retrieved 2008-11-13 
  13. ^ Smithpeters, Jeffrey Neal 2005 ""To the Latest Generation": Cold War and Post Cold War US Civil War Novels in Their Social Context" PDF pp 14–15 Archived from the original PhD Dissertation, Louisiana State University on February 19, 2006 Retrieved June 27, 2010 

Further reading

  • Eckley, Wilton & Martine, James Jeditor 1981 "MacKinlay Kantor" Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol 9: American Novelists, 1910–1945 Detroit: Gale Research CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
  • "MacKinlay Kantor" Contemporary Authors Gale Literary Databases March 1999 
  • Zaidman, Laura & Kimbel, Bobby Ellen editor 1991 "MacKinlay Kantor" Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol 102: American Short-Story Writers, 1910-1945 Second Series ed Detroit: Gale Research CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
  • Shroder, Tom The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived: A True Story of My Family New York: Blue Rider Press, 2016

External links

  • MacKinlay Kantor on IMDb

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