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COMO: STARK YOUNG

Stark Young"It is a rambling old house, though the front is rather correct and unexpected, with a small portico and white columns."
Stark Young from
Shadows on Terrebonne

Como, MS historical markerFrequently proclaimed as one of Mississippi's most cosmopolitan literary figures, Stark Young was born in Como on October 11, 1881. Over the course of his life until January 6, 1963, Young became a novelist, poet, essayist, dramatist, translator, professor, painter, and Broadway critic. He is buried in Como's Friendship Cemetery.

Stark Young retained his self-described "Southern-ness" but he ultimately landed in Manhattan where he wrote drama criticism for The New York Times and The New Republic. He authored four successful novels between 1926 and 1934 set in Mississippi and with inspiration from locales in Como: Heaven Trees, The Torches Flare, River House, and So Red The Rose. The clash of industrialism, exemplified by the North, versus the Southern agrarian life and economy was a frequent theme of both Young's fiction and non-fiction.

Stark Young's contributions to global literature were also significant. In 1938, he translated Anton Chekhov's Russian play The Sea Gull for a Broadway production that starred his friends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine. He also translated Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya into English. Even as he aged, Young actively traveled the world to deliver lectures about theater and literature.

  Literary Landmarks marker for Stark Young   Downtown Como on the Fourth of July   Playbill of Lunt and Fontaine in The Sea Gull, translated by Stark Young  
  Literary Landmarks marker for Stark Young   Downtown Como on the Fourth of July   Playbill of Lunt and Fontaine in The Sea Gull, translated by Stark Young  

In his prologue to a collection entitled Best Plays by Chekhov, Young argued that the work of the complex Russian playwright "should never seem to be really depressing." The Como native added, "A hovering life lies over the scenes, and a strange and living pressure emerges. Chekhov is like a wise, evenly balanced doctor who takes all in his stride. He can portray the human scene without bitterness, harsh theories or sentimental indulgence."

  Como Methodist Church on Main Street   Historic Home in Como   The Como Steakhouse  
  Como Methodist Church on Main Street   Historic Home in Como   The Como Steakhouse  

For more information on Stark Young, view his profile on The Mississippi Writers Page presented by the Department of English at the University of Mississippi.

 
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