Doctorow, E. L.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Doctorow, E. L.

E. L. Doctorow: (Edgar Lawrence Doctorow) (dŏk´tərō´), 1931–2015, American novelist, b. New York City. The author of a dozen novels, Doctorow is known for his skillful blending of fiction and fact into reconstructions of eras in American history. His first work was a novel of the 19th-century West, Welcome to Hard Times (1960), but he did not win wide recognition until The Book of Daniel (1971), which is based on the Rosenberg Case. After that work, his books often featured a compelling combination of real and fictional characters. Doctorow's other novels include Ragtime (1975), which recreates pre–World War I America; Loon Lake (1980), which portrays American life during the Great Depression; World's Fair (1985; National Book Award), a semiautobiographical work set in the Bronx of the 1930s; Billy Bathgate (1989), a tale of Prohibition-era gangsters; The Waterworks (1994), set in 1870s New York; City of God (2000), a late 20th-century exploration of ideas and faith; The March (2005), an account of General Sherman's Civil War march through Georgia; Homer & Langley (2009), the story of two New York hoarder-hermit brothers; and Andrew's Brain (2014), an early 20th-century scientist's ruminations on his life, memory, and mind. Doctorow also wrote short stories, e.g., those in Sweet Land Stories (2004) and All the Time in the World (2011), nonfiction, e.g., the essays collected in Reporting the Universe (2003) and the literary-critical appreciations in Creationists (2006), and a single stage drama, Drinks before Dinner (1978).

See R. Trenner, ed., E. L. Doctorow, Essays and Conversations (1983); C. D. Morris, ed., Conversations with E. L. Doctorow (1999); studies by P. Levine (1985), C. C. Harter and J. R. Thompson (1990), C. D. Morris (1991), J. G. Parks (1991), D. Fowler (1992), B. Siegel, ed. (2000), M. M. Tokarczyk (2000), and H. Bloom, ed. (2002).

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