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O Henry

Cabbages and Kings

MMDE: O Henri

Current: O Henry

William Sydney Porter is best known for his novel "Cabbages and Kings", set in the fictitious country of Anchuria, which weaves its way through many connected short stories renowned for their surprise endings.

He wrote under a pseudonym - but was it "O Henry" or "O Henri"? Many are claiming the spelling was Henri, yet all references today show it as Henry.

Porter led a colourful life, and the buzz surrounding the Mandela Effect of his assumed surname would have amused him greatly. Few people realise he's responsible for coining the phrase "banana republic", to describe a country who's economy is both over-reliant on one commodity and usually disfunctional as a result. 

Quotes

Porter was widely recognised as a talented wit - a precursor to the "observational" comedy movement of the late 20th century who just happened to live 100 years too soon.

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

The Rolling Stone

Another remarkable pointer to him being years ahead of his time was the title of the humorous weekly publication he started whilst working at a bank: The Rollling Stone. This didn't do well enough financially to be sustainable, but it did catch the eye of the editor of The Houston Post, who offered him a post. His story from then gets very interesting. First, he was arrested for embezzlement which allegedly occurred whilst he was at the bank, but fled to Honduras just before the trial. He lived there for 6 months before befriending a notorious train robber. It was during this time, whilst holed up in a hotel, that he wrote Cabbages and Kings.

He learned his wife back home was gravely ill and so returned, when he was promptly arrested. Unfortunately she died, and he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, but released after 3 for good behaviour.

He continued writing from prison, but needed to adopt a pseudonym so chose "O Henry". Or was it "O Henri"?