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In 1868, Bret Harte published "The Luck of Roaring Camp" in the Overland Monthly, a new publication from San Francisco of which Harte himself was the first editor. Intended to be a competitor to the well-established Atlantic Monthly, the Overland Monthly was looking for "tales of California romance." By "romance," of course, Harte didn't mean "hugs and kisses." He meant stories that would epitomize the grandeur, drama, and glory of old California.
"The Luck of Roaring Camp" was a not-so-fictionalized account of California's gold rush and of the terrible 1862 flood that threatened to destroy the state.
Bret Harte, the future man of letters, attended school until only age thirteen. Later the editor of the Overland Monthly, a professor of literature at the University of California, and the Secretary of the California Mint, Harte is among one of the great writers of the 19th Century. His most entertaining and enduring tales are collected in The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Tales.
Francis Bret Harte (1836 - 1902) was an American short story writer and poet, best remembered for his short fiction featuring miners, gamblers and other romantic figures of the California Gold Rush. In a career spanning more than four decades, he wrote poetry, fiction, plays, lectures, book reviews, editorials and magazine sketches in addition to fiction. As he moved from California to the eastern U.S. to Europe, he incorporated new subjects and characters into his stories but his Gold Rush tales have been most often reprinted, adapted and admired.