Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Baseball loses a fan

mark harris
1922-2007

Mark Harris, author of Bang the Drum Slowly, died on May 30 from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Born Mark Harris Finkelstein, Harris admitted that he was always at the center of his novels, whether he was disguised as a baseball player, poet or professor.

Bang the Drum Slowly is Harris’ most famous novel, but many may not know that this is just one novel in a tetralogy that follows Henry Wiggins through his adventures as a big league baseball player. The series begins with The Southpaw (1953) and follows with Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), A Ticket for Seamstitch (1957) and It Looked Like For Ever (1979). Sports Illustrated included Bang the Drum Slowly in its top 100 sports books of all time.

Bang the Drum Slowly was made into a movie in 1973. Starring Michael Moriarty as Henry Wiggins and Robert De Niro as Bruce Pearson, it was nominated for an Academy Award and won De Niro a New York Film Critics Circle Award for best supporting actor. Harris wrote the screenplay.

Harris wrote bildungsromans, novels in which a young character's journey through life leads to spiritual and moral maturity. This is true of his Henry Wiggins books, and also true of his equally compelling but lesser-known other novels.

Links:

To learn more about Mark Harris' life and bibliography, search the Biography Resource Center (library card is required)

If you are interested in a book not listed in our catalog, you may be able to borrow it through Interlibrary Loan

Some additional books about spring's favorite sport

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