E. L. Doctorow

Doctorow, E. L. (Edgar Laurence Doctorow)dŏkˈtərōˌ, 1931–, American novelist, b. New York City. 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. Since then his books often have 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), which is set in 1870s New York; City of God (2000), a late 20th-century exploration of ideas and faith; The March (2005), a fictionalized account of General Sherman's Civil War march through Georgia; and Homer & Langley (2009), his version of the lives of two New York hoarder-hermit brothers. He has also written short stories, e.g., Sweet Land Stories (2004) and All the Time in the World (2011), and nonfiction, e.g., the essays collected in Reporting the Universe (2003) and the literary-critical appreciations of Creationists (2006).

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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