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Robert Montgomery Bird (1803—1854) was born in Delaware and raised in Philadelphia. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from its medical school in 1824. After practicing medicine for only a year, he started writing, eventually becoming the editor of American Monthly Magazine. He is best known for his plays The Gladiator and The Broker of Bogota and his novels Calavar, The Infidel, and Nick of the Woods.
Christopher Looby holds an M.A. in American literature and history from Washington University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. A former associate editor for The Library of America, he currently teaches English at UCLA.