E. L. Doctorow

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Edgar Lawrence Doctorow or E. L. Doctorow is an American author. His works include The Book of Daniel (1971), Ragtime (1975), Loon Lake (1980), World's Fair (1986), and Billy Bathgate (1989).[1]

Life and Works

Doctorow was born January 6, 1931, in New York City, to Russian Jewish parents living in a lower-middle class part of the Bronx, where he attended the Bronx School of Science after grade school.[2] He once failed a writing assignment in high school, one that should have been non-fiction but was such vivid fiction that the teacher wanted to see it in reality, and failed him once he admitted it was fake - regardless, he moved on to Kenyon College.[3] He studied philosophy there and took acting classes, then attended Columbia University, married a woman, joined the army and was stationed in Frankfurt while his first child was being born.[4]

He wrote in a litany of genres, from the western Welcome to Hard Times (1960) to the science fiction potboiler Big As Life (1966) to his true forte, the historical fiction of The Book of Daniel (about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg), and Loon Lake, World's Fair, and Billy Bathgate (about the Great Depression).[5] What is perhaps his greatest work, Ragtime, tells the story of a black man called Coalhouse Walker's struggle against racial injustice in the time of Emma Goldman, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Henry Ford, based on Heinrich von Kliest's legend of Kolhaus.[6] For his works, he was awarded a National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, An Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN Saul Bellow Award.[7] Doctorow died on July 21, 2015, in New York.[8]

See also