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Over the decades, the Haymarket accused have been hailed as heroes and martyrs in numerous visual and literary forms. The noted Mexican muralist Diego Rivera is one of many artists to depict the accused as victims of state oppression. One of the earliest full-length imaginative retellings was the novel The Bomb, published in 1909 by the Irish-born American writer Frank Harris; among the most recent is Haymarket Eight, by Derek Goldman and Jessica Thebus, produced in 1999 by the Steppenwolf Theatre of Chicago's Arts Exchange Program.
The narrator of Harris's novel is Rudolph Schnaubelt, the anarchist who evaded the police dragnet and who many, including friends of the defendants, believed threw the bomb. The book is full of historical inaccuracies—Harris makes up most of the details of Schnaubelt's life—and the narrative is remarkably flat, given its subject. And although poets from Vachel Lindsay to Kenneth Rexroth and beyond have reflected on Haymarket, few retellings have been as compelling and engrossing as the original drama of the event itself.