E L Doctorow's picture

E L Doctorow

(Edgar Lawrence Doctorow)
USA flag (1931 - 2015)

Doctorow was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Rose (Levine) and David Richard Doctorow, second-generation Americans of Russian Jewish descent who named him after Edgar Allan Poe. He attended city public grade schools and the Bronx High School of Science where, surrounded by mathematically gifted children, he fled to the office of the school literary magazine, Dynamo. He published his first literary effort, "The Beetle," in it, which he describes as a tale of etymological self-defamation inspired by my reading of Kafka.

Doctorow attended Kenyon College in Ohio, where he studied with the poet and New Critic John Crowe Ransom, acted in college theater productions, and majored in philosophy. After graduating with honors in 1952, he completed a year of graduate work in English drama at Columbia University before being drafted into the United States Army. He served as a corporal in the signal corps, in Germany 195455 during the Allied occupation.

He returned to New York after his military service and took a job as a reader for a motion picture company, where he said he had to read so many Westerns that he was inspired to write what became his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times. He began it as a parody of western fiction, but it evolved to be a serious reclamation of the genre before he was finished. It was published to positive reviews in 1960.

Genres: Literary Fiction
Series contributed to
Non fiction
Anthologies containing stories by E L Doctorow
Short stories
The Foreign Legation
The Hunter
The Leather Man
Lives of the Poets [short story]
The Water Works
The Writer in the Family
The Waterworks [short story] (1984)
Untitled (1998)

Nebula Awards Best Novel nominee (1976) : Ragtime
National Book Award for Fiction Best Book winner (1986) : World's Fair
National Book Award for Fiction Best Book nominee (1989) : Billy Bathgate
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book winner (1990) : Billy Bathgate
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (1990) : Billy Bathgate
National Book Award for Fiction Best Book nominee (2005) : The March
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book winner (2006) : The March
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Best Book nominee (2006) : The March

Books about E L Doctorow
E L Doctorow recommends
Zero (1983)
Ignácio de Loyola Lopes Brandão
"A wild, surreal novel, vulgar, funny, self-conscious, painful. It is done in short takes, each with a headline; a kitchen sink kind of book, envisioning the hideous nature of life under a repressive regime of the 1960s."
The Dylanist (1991)
Brian Morton
"Astonishingly mature."
Seeds of Another Summer (1996)
Beth Powning
"Beth Powning's beautiful celebration of natural life is meet and proper for these unnatural times. I think it`will be read for years to come."
Broken As Things Are (2004)
Martha Witt
"A sensitive Southern tale of weirdly imaginative children and hapless adults. Ms. Witt has staked out a territory somewhere between Harper Lee and Flannery O'Connor."

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