Cover image for Conversations with E.L. Doctorow
Conversations with E.L. Doctorow
Doctorow, E. L., 1931-2015.
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Publication Information:
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxx, 228 pages ; 23 cm.
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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PS3554.O3 Z465 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A collection of twenty of the most revelatory interviews with the acclaimed author of Ragtime, World's Fair, & Billy Bathgate.

Author Notes

E. L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow was born on January 6, 1931, in the Bronx, New York. He received an A.B. in philosophy in 1952 from Kenyon College and did graduate work at Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953-1955.

He began his career as a script reader for CBS Television and Columbia Pictures and as a senior editor for the New American Library. He was editor-in-chief for Dial Press from 1964 to 1969, where he also served as vice president and publisher in his last year on staff. It was at this time that he decided to write full time.

He wrote novels, short stories, essays, and a play. His debut novel, Welcome to Hard Times, was published in 1960 and was adapted into a film in 1967. His other works include, Loon Lake, The Waterworks, The March, Homer and Langley, and Andrew's Brain. He won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1986 for World's Fair and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1976 for Ragtime, which was adapted into a film in 1981 and a Broadway musical in 1998. Billy Bathgate received the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal in 1990. The Book of Daniel and Billy Bathgate were also adapted into films. He received the 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters for his outstanding achievement in fiction writing. He died of complications from lung cancer on July 21, 2015 at the age of 84.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

So sharp-witted and eloquent is Doctorow, the distinguished author of Ragtime, World's Fair, and The Waterworks, every one of the interviews collected here reads like a polished essay on the state of the contemporary novel and fiction's moral imperative. An excellent subject not only because of his dynamic intellect and radical humanitarianism but because, as editor Morris puts it, the "utter unpredictability of his works" enables Doctorow to illuminate many of the mysteries of creative writing. Doctorow talks about how Hawthorne and Chekhov influence his work, discusses the fluid line between fiction and nonfiction, explains that his novels are both autobiographical and invented, and declares that all novels are political. Formerly the editor-in-chief at Dial, Doctorow offers insights into the publishing business, and, having experienced cinematic adaptations of his work, speaks forcefully about film and television. Each rigorous and surprising conversation (Doctorow's interviewers are no slouches) crackles with the fire of Doctorow's convictions and profound belief in literature's role in safeguarding liberty and justice. --Donna Seaman

Choice Review

An authority on Doctorow, Morris has assembled an uncommonly useful collection of interviews with this literary artist. Though the editor acknowledges that interviews alone cannot provide an understanding of a writer's work, this series of selections, laid out chronologically (1975 to 1997), demonstrates that interviews can offer many penetrating insights into a writer's methods, aims, philosophy, and (in some cases) specific works. The informative introduction gives a critical overview of Doctorow's output and highlights the essential elements of each interview. Morris also includes a chronology of Doctorow's life and works, including occasional essays. For upper-division undergraduates through faculty and informed general readers. C. G. Masinton; University of Kansas