Steven Millhauser Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954, by Jeffrey Cartwright, A Novel (1972) was Steven Millhauser’s acclaimed debut novel. His next two novels, Portrait of a Romantic (1977) and From the Realm of Morpheus (1986), were less successful, to the point of relegating him to relative obscurity. Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (1996), however, restored his reputation; early collections of his short fiction were brought back into print, and new ones became easier to publish.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Martin Dressler won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997. Steven Millhauser has also been given an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1987, and received a Lannan Fellowship. He also received a Prix Médicis Étranger in 1975, a World Fantasy award in 1990, and a Lannan Literary Award for fiction in 1994.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Byatt, A. S. “Reports from the Edge of Reality.” Washington Post Book World (June 14, 1998): X1. A penetrating review of The Knife Thrower, and Other Stories by a fiction writer who explores much of the same territory as Millhauser does. Compares him to Hawthorne, Hoffmann, and Kafka.

Fowler, Douglas. “Steven Millhauser, Miniaturist.” Critique 37 (Winter, 1996): 139-149. Places Millhauser firmly in the postmodernist tradition of Donald Bartheleme et al. Finds him “a fabulist disguised as a realist and a parodist.”

Howe, Irving. “An Afterword.” Salmagundi 92 (Fall, 1991): 110-114. An admittedly swift evaluation of “Catalogue of the Exhibition” by the eminent critic, who finds the story “a masterpiece.” “The subject may be Romantic, the treatment is not.” Contains an interesting note by Millhauser about his intentions.

Kinzie, May. “Succeeding Borges, Escaping Kafka: On the Fiction of Steven Millhauser.” Salmagundi 92 (Fall, 1991): 115-144. Despite its title, this essay concentrates on Millhauser’s second story collection, The Barnum Museum. Finds Borges’s influence on Millhauser much stronger than Kafka’s.

Millhauser, Steven. “Steven Millhauser: The Business of Dreaming.” Interview by Jennifer Schuessler. Publishers Weekly (May 6, 1996): 56-57. One of the few interviews that Millhauser has given.