Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

Nathanael West - Early life, Career as author, Death, His work, Published works, Further reading

york city

Writer, born in New York City, New York, USA. He studied at Tufts (1921) and Brown (1924 PhB), and lived in Paris for two years, where he finished his first novel. He changed his name legally in 1926. Until 1933 he was a manager of various inexpensive hotels belonging to his father in New York City while continuing to write, and then settled in California (1935) to become a screenwriter (1936–40). His fiction was largely neglected until after he and his wife died in an automobile accident. His work was revived by critics during 1947–57, and he is praised for its sensitive mix of mordant humour and pathos, as in the novels Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) and The Day of the Locust (1939).

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