Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Frank Norris  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: March 5, 1870 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: October 25, 1902 in San Francisco, California (32 years of age)

-- Frank Norris on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Norris was born in Chicago and lived there until he was 14.

Biographical and Professional Information

Frank Norris was a naturalist who attempted in his sweeping fictional canvases to depict the impact of large, impersonal social and economic forces on individual lives. He is best known for McTeague (1899) and his uncompleted trilogy, The Epic of Wheat, which was to trace the impact of the wheat industry on society. The first volume, The Octopus (1901), deals with the conflict between wheatgrowers and the railroads in California. The Pit (1903), set in Chicago, is about wheat speculation on the Board of Trade. Norris' premature death kept him from completing the trilogy with The Wolf, about the flow of wheat to Europe to relieve famine.


Name engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990

Selected Titles At Your Library

A man's woman
ISBN: 1406916609. OCLC Number: 5519047

Hard Press. .

ISBN: 1388291428. OCLC Number: 1044856979


ISBN: 1595477721. OCLC Number: 886112525

Pharos Editions,. .

First published in 1899, this graphic depiction of urban American life centers around McTeague, a?dentist" practicing in San Francisco at the turn of the century. While at first content with his life and friendship with an ambitious man named Marcus, McTeague eventually courts and marries Trina, a parsimonious young woman who wins a large sum of money in a lottery. It is not long before the jealousy and avarice of the majority of the characters in the novel sets off a chain of inevitable and increasingly horrific events. Norris' work, so strikingly different from that of his contempora.

ISBN: 0486831760. OCLC Number: 1059265117


ISBN: 0368283666. OCLC Number: 1088525188


Novels and essays
ISBN: 0940450402. OCLC Number: 12668527

Literary Classics of the United States :. .

In his brief career -- he died at 32 -- Frank Norris introduced fresh and sometimes shocking elements into American fiction. Inspired by the naturalistic new novel developed in France by Zola and Flaubert, he adapted it to American settings, adding his own taste for exciting action and a fascination with the emerging sciences of economics and psychology. Vandover and the brute, set in a vividly described San Francisco, captures with harsh realism the dissipation and decline of a fashionable playboy into virtual bestiality. McTeague (source for Erich von Stroheim's classic film Greed) was a radical departure for its time in its frank treatment of sex, domestic violence and pathological obsession, revealing the dark underside of San Francisco's new middle class. The octopus depicts the epic struggle of strong, ruthless California ranchers with the railroad monopoly and its political machine. Twenty-two essays address theories of literature, the state of American fiction, and the social responsibilities of the artist. The New York Times said, An opportunity to read, or re-read, in an authentic new edition, the work of one of the trailblazers in American literature.

ISBN: 3734045231. OCLC Number: 1057778012

OUTLOOK Verlag,. .

ISBN: 1389008088. OCLC Number: 1022080276


The Pit
ISBN: 1595477705. OCLC Number: 275996

R. Bentley. .