Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
B. Traven (d. March 26, 1969) was an enigmatic novelist who wrote in German, and who is most famous for having written the novel that was the basis for the Humphrey Bogart movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Traven wrote numerous other novels such as The Death Ship and The Rebellion of the Hanged .
Until recently, little was known about the man himself; it was not even clear whether he was German or merely wrote in the language. It is clear from the descriptions in his novels that he must have at least travelled extensively (if not lived) in Europe, the United States and Mexico.
On the basis of comparing writing styles, it has been suggested that Traven was a pseudonym for the German anarchist Ret Marut , who published an underground magazine in the last years of the Weimar Republic. Another identity for Traven may have been "Traven's agent", the seemingly English Hal Croves who met with director John Huston during the filming of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Traven, like the American authors Thomas Pynchon and JD Salinger, delighted in his personal anonymity. The Times reporter notes that the irrelevance of formal identity is a central theme of The Death Ship. Traven's widow said that Traven had something like ten identities and "loved to tangle things up." The story notes that the identity of "Ret Marut" can be traced back to 1907, and that neither Traven's widow nor anyone else really knows who he was before that.
- "His Widow Reveals Much Of Who B. Traven Really Was," Larry Rohter, The New York Times, June 25, 1990, p. C13
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