Calisher, Hortense

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Calisher, Hortense

Hortense Calisher (kăl´Ĭshər), 1911–2009, American author, b. New York City, grad. Barnard College, 1932. Her novels are difficult to categorize, blending deft character analysis with complex story lines. Written in careful, dense, elliptial, yet constantly fresh prose, they have been compared to works by Dickens and James. She frequently wrote about families and the failures of love and communication that wind through their generations. Among her novels are False Entry (1961), The New Yorkers (1969), Queenie (1971), Mysteries of Motion (1982), In the Palace of the Movie King (1993), and Sunday Jews (2002). In all, Calisher wrote more than 20 books. Her collected short stories appeared in 1975 (another story collection followed a decade later), and her collected novellas were published in 1997. She taught at several colleges and universities.

See her autobiographical Herself (1972), Kissing Cousins (1988), and Tattoo for a Slave (2004); K. Snodgrass, The Fiction of Hortense Calisher (1993).

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