Daniel Fuchs Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

By the end of the twentieth century, Daniel Fuchs (fyewks) was best known for his first three novels, Summer in Williamsburg, Homage to Blenholt, and Low Company, which became known as his Williamsburg trilogy. These books, many critics feel, are pioneering works in Jewish American literature that paved the way for some of the greatest Jewish American writers of the second half of the twentieth century, such as Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, and Bernard Malamud. Nonetheless, few twentieth century readers were familiar with any of Fuchs’s stories or novels.

Fuchs’s parents immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. Daniel, their fifth child, was born on the lower East Side of New York City, then a largely immigrant Jewish neighborhood. When Daniel was five, his family moved to Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, which became the source from which Fuchs drew the inspiration and much of the material for his trilogy. There, Daniel’s father started selling newspapers and eventually had a concession stand in the Whitehall Building on Battery Place. Fuchs avidly read the newspapers and magazines his father sold and spent much time attending movies and reading novels, activities that would influence his writing.

He graduated from City College in New York in 1930 with a major in philosophy. While there, he wrote for and then edited the college’s literary magazine, The Lavender. After graduating, he taught at Public...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Howe, Irving. “Daniel Fuchs’ Williamsburg Trilogy: A Cigarette and a Window.” In Proletarian Writers of the Thirties, edited by David Madden. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1968. A discussion of Fuchs’s Williamsburg novels, by one of the most important critics of twentieth century Jewish American literature. Praises Fuchs’s ability to portray the power within everyday life.

Krafchick, Marcelline. World Without Heroes: The Brooklyn Novels of Daniel Fuchs. Rutherford, N.J: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988. A detailed discussion of the Williamsburg novels in terms of their points of ambivalence.

Miller, Gabriel. Daniel Fuchs. Boston: Twayne, 1979. A useful introduction to all aspects of Fuchs’s career. Summarizes Fuchs’s life and discusses many individual works, including those produced during the Hollywood years.

Rubin, Rachel. Jewish Gangsters of Modern Literature. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000. Argues that Fuchs’s gangsters resemble businessmen rather than the heroic figures gangsters are in works by some other authors.