Sixes and Sevens- O. Henry

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World Classics


Published posthumously, William Sidney Porter’s ‘Sixes and Sevens’ is a collection of 25 short stories from the popular author. Some of the most famous works included are ‘Ulysses and the Dogman’, where a dog walker meets an old acquaintance; ‘The Church with an Overshot-Wheel’ about a bereaved miller who turns his mill into a church, and classic detective story ‘The Sleuths’. With a focus on the harshness but also the humour of everyday life, and tales stretching from New York to the Wild West, this is a remarkable collection of some of O. Henry’s timeless tales.

William Sidney Porter (1862-1910) was an American writer best-known for his short stories. Born in North Carolina, Porter moved to Texas in his early twenties where he began his literary career contributing to newspapers and magazines such as ‘The Houston Post’. During this period he also began work at a bank where he was accused of embezzlement, lost his job and was arrested a year later. Growing fearful of his upcoming trial, Porter escaped to New Orleans and then Honduras while on bail, where he hid for several months. It was here that he was inspired to write one of his famous short story collections ‘Cabbages and Kings’. In 1897 Porter returned to the US and was sentenced to five years in prison. He continued to write and had several stories published from prison under various pseudonyms, the most famous of which was ‘O. Henry’ – a name by which he is better known. Upon release Porter moved to New York where his most intense period of writing began, authoring hundreds of short stories mostly for the New York World Sunday Magazine. His witty narration and plot twists made his stories a huge hit with readers, a legacy which endures to this day. Some of his most popular short stories include, ‘The Gift of the Magi’, ‘The Cop and the Anthem’ and ‘The Caballero’s Way’. 1952 film ‘O. Henry’s Full House’ featured five of his short stories and starred Marilyn Monroe and Charles Laughton. Annual American literary prize ‘The O. Henry Award’ was established in his honour in 1919.
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Saga Egmont
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