1912–82, American author, b. Quincy, Mass. His expulsion from Thayer Academy was the subject of his first short story, published by the New Republic
when he was 17. Many of his subsequent works are also semiautobiographical. With meticulously rendered detail, Cheever often wrote about life in the affluent American suburbs. Although his works are usually comic, his view is that of a moralist. His fiction includes the novels The Wapshot Chronicle
(1957), The Wapshot Scandal
(1964), and Falconer
(1977); and several short-story collections. Comprehansive collections of Cheever's masterful short stories, which acutely chronicle his generation's urban and suburban life, were published in 1978 (Pulitzer Prize) and 2009; his novels were collected in 2009. His daughter, Susan Cheever,
1943–, and his son, Benjamin Cheever,
1948–, are also writers.
See his journals (1991, rev. ed. 1994, repr. 2008), ed. by S. Cheever (and R. Gottlieb); his letters, ed. by B. Cheever (1988); S. Cheever, Home before Dark (1984); S. Donaldson, ed., Conversations with John Cheever (1987); biographies by S. Donaldson (1988) and B. Bailey (2009); studies by L. Waldeland (1979), R. G. Collins, ed. (1982), G. W. Hunt (1983), J. E. O'Hara (1989), F. J. Bosha, ed. (1994), P. Meanor (1995), and H. Bloom, ed. (2003).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies