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
   Welcome to Hard Times (1960)
     aka Bad Man from Bodie
   Big as Life (1966)
   The Book of Daniel (1971)
   Ragtime (1975)
   Drinks Before Dinner (1979)
   Loon Lake (1980)
   American Anthem (1982)
   World's Fair (1985)
   Billy Bathgate (1989)
   The Waterworks (1994)
   City of God (2000)
   The March (2005)
   Homer and Langley (2009)
   Andrew's Brain (2014)
   Lives of the Poets (1984)
   Three Screenplays: Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake (2003)
   Sweet Land Stories (2004)
   All the Time in the World (2011)
   Poems for Life (poems) (2011) (with Allen Ginsberg and David Mamet)
   Collected Stories (2017)
Non fiction
Omnibus editions
Series contributed to
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

E L Doctorow recommends
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."
The Dylanist (1991)
Brian Morton
"Astonishingly mature."

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