Paul Zindel Biography

Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Paul Zindel was born in Staten Island, New York, on May 15, 1936, the son of Paul and Beatrice Mary Frank Zindel. His father, a policeman, deserted his family when Paul was two years old, leaving Beatrice with the responsibility of raising Paul and his sister, Betty, who was two years older. The breakup of the family left Paul with a deep-seated feeling of resentment toward his father, who ignored his children and failed to make any financial contribution to their support.

Following her husband’s desertion, Zindel’s mother worked in a variety of jobs, supplementing her salary at times by stealing small items from her clients. Since many of these jobs were short-term practical nursing assignments, the family moved frequently. As a result, Zindel’s childhood was rootless and lonely. This loneliness was intensified when he developed tuberculosis at age fifteen and was forced to spend eighteen months in a sanatorium, where most of the patients were adults.

After his recovery and return to high school, Zindel, who had shown an interest in writing plays, entered a playwriting contest sponsored by the American Cancer Society. He was awarded a silver ballpoint pen for his drama about a pianist who recovers from a serious illness to play Frédéric Chopin’s Warsaw Concerto at Carnegie Hall.

During his senior year in high school, feeling what he called a “teenaged angst,” Zindel dropped out of school and traveled to Miami, Florida, where he tried unsuccessfully to find a job. After two weeks and the total exhaustion of his financial resources, Zindel returned to New York, where he finished high school in 1954, one year late. He then applied to five colleges, without any clear idea of what he wanted to do. He was accepted by several prestigious schools but decided to attend Wagner College on Staten Island, a move he believes was prompted by low self-esteem and social insecurity, legacies he attributes to his mother.

Zindel majored in chemistry at Wagner but maintained his interest in writing. He served as editor for the school newspaper and wrote an original play as his term paper for a continental drama course. During a visit to New York to cover a writers conference (an assignment he had given himself), Zindel came under the spell of Edward Albee, a playwright best known for his play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962). Zindel signed up for a course taught by Albee and under his famous teacher’s direction completed a play, Dimensions of...

(The entire section is 1032 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

“Whatever I do,” Zindel once said, “becomes summarized in my writing.” The result of this summarization is a series of plays and novels constructed around Zindel’s search for meaning and the resolution of problems left over from his adolescence. The plays, which are written for an adult audience, are most often about troubled women, and they contain some attempt to find a reason behind a seemingly senseless life. The novels, on the other hand, are directed toward a young adult audience and are designed to provide both entertainment and insight. In each of Zindel’s novels his characters, and perhaps his readers, learn a lesson.

Paul Zindel Biography (Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Paul Zindel was born on May 15, 1936, in Staten Island, New York, to Paul and Betty (née Frank) Zindel. His father, a police officer, abandoned his wife and two small children, Paul and a sister. Betty Zindel, a practical nurse, launched into numerous ventures, ranging from real estate to dog breeding, and sometimes took in terminally ill patients for board and care. The family moved almost annually.

This transient lifestyle and his mother’s unwillingness, if not inability, to form meaningful relationships acquainted young Zindel with various forms of loss. Pets allowed at one home might be forbidden by the next landlord. Dogs raised for sale would eventually be sold. Board-and-care patients would sometimes die. The frequent moves, too, kept the boy, more often than not, in the role of newcomer in a neighborhood. It grew simpler to enjoy the worlds of imagination and, when possible, the manageable environments of aquaria and terraria.

In school, Zindel occasionally acted in plays and skits, some of which he wrote himself. At fifteen, he contracted tuberculosis and spent about eighteen months in a sanatorium, the sole youth in an otherwise adult community. He learned some parlor games and studied piano during his stay; more important, he became an interested observer of adult behavior. Returned to health and to high school, Zindel wrote a play for a contest sponsored by the American Cancer Society; it centered on a young pianist who recovers from a serious illness to play at Carnegie Hall. The play won for Zindel a Parker pen.

Zindel majored in chemistry at Wagner College in New York City. While completing his bachelor of science degree, he took a creative writing course with Edward Albee and wrote a play, Dimensions of Peacocks, during his senior year. Zindel was graduated in 1958, and after working briefly as a technical writer for a Manhattan chemical firm, he decided that he wanted to teach.

Completing a master of science degree at Wagner in 1959, Zindel began teaching chemistry and physics at Tottenville High School on Staten Island. His Dimensions of Peacocks received a minor staging; more significant, he attended his first professional theater production, Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic (pr., pb. 1960), and left with his appetite for theater whetted.

For the next several years, Zindel continued to teach and to write....

(The entire section is 988 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Paul Zindel (zihn-DEHL), a prizewinning young adult author and playwright, is known for his realistic, if sometimes bizarre, presentation of issues and situations appealing to contemporary adolescent readers. According to Zindel, these stories were based on his personal experiences as a teenager and a high school teacher. As a child, Zindel never really knew his father, but his hardworking mother juggled a variety of jobs in order to provide for Zindel and his older sister. Although the family moved frequently, Zindel found that each neighborhood offered a new background for his imaginative pursuits.

While still in high school, Zindel contracted tuberculosis and spent a year and a half in a sanatorium, the only teenager in a sterile world filled with adults. This experience, in addition to his exposure to the private nursing patients cared for by Zindel’s mother, shaped the development of fictional medical incidents that occur in some of his works. From this isolated and lonely time, Zindel developed the voice of an alienated narrator which even reluctant readers have found appealing.

While his major at Wagner College was chemistry (in which he was awarded a B.S. in 1958 and an M.S. in 1959), Zindel also took classes in creative writing; playwright Edward Albee was one of his instructors. After a brief period serving as a technical writer for a chemical company, Zindel spent ten years working as a high school chemistry teacher, writing fiction in his spare time. Wagner College later awarded him an honorary doctorate for his achievements in...

(The entire section is 642 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Zindel was born on May 15, 1936, in Staten Island, New York. When Zindel was very young, his father abandoned the family, reducing Paul,...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Novels for Students)

Paul Zindel Published by Gale Cengage

Paul Zindel was born on May 15, 1936, in Staten Island, New York, and grew up on Staten Island with his mother and sister. His father, a...

(The entire section is 569 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Crescent Dragonwagon: Yes, her name is real. First married to Crispin Dragonwagon in 1970, the author retained this pen name following their...

(The entire section is 580 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Zindel was born on Staten Island, New York, on May 15, 1936. His father abandoned his family when the author was still very young, and...

(The entire section is 269 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Zindel was born on Staten Island, New York, on May 15,1936. His father abandoned his family when he was still very young, and this...

(The entire section is 268 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Zindel was born on Staten Island, New York, on May 15, 1936. His father abandoned the family, dogged by poverty and frequent moves in...

(The entire section is 392 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Paul Zindel was born on May 15, 1936, in Staten Island, New York. When Zindel was very young, his father abandoned him, his mother, and his...

(The entire section is 355 words.)

Paul Zindel Biography (Drama for Students)

Paul Zindel Published by Gale Cengage

Paul Zindel was born in Staten Island, New York, on May 15,1936. He is the son of Paul, a New York policeman, and Betty Zindel. He also has...

(The entire section is 527 words.)