IntroductionNo one could tell E. L. Doctorow to keep his mouth shut. The author grew up in a lively Jewish household where vigorous discussion was encouraged. He has said of his childhood that it was “a lower middle-class environment of generally enlightened socialist sensibility.” These early experiences helped shape Doctorow’s novels, which are a blend of social criticism and history. Well-educated, holding degrees from both Kenyon College and Columbia University, Doctorow did not focus on writing until some time after college. His job as a script reader at Columbia Pictures gave him a unique perspective on how to write structure that he later perfected in his own novels, particularly in his most famous book, Ragtime.
- Doctorow once worked at the reservations desk at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
- Doctorow’s novel Big as Life (1966) is a science fiction story that was trounced by critics. Doctorow eventually removed the novel from print.
- Doctorow studied playwright Heinrich Von Kleist’s work while at Columbia and based his protagonist in Ragtime after a hero in one of Kleist’s books.
- In its first year in print, Ragtime sold 200,000 hardcover copies and made a total of $2 million in paperback sales.
- Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel, his first commercial success, was based on the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. His outrage at their execution fueled his writing of the novel.
- E(dgar) L(aurence) Doctorow Criticism (Vol. 15)
- E(dgar) L(awrence) Doctorow Criticism
- EL Doctorow Criticism
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