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Forty Acres and a Mule

Amanda Claybaugh: E.L. Doctorow

26 January 2006
The March: A Novel 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Little, Brown, 367 pp., £11.99, January 2006, 0 316 73198 6
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... In his historical novels, E.L.Doctorow has written about ragtime and the Rosenbergs, about mobsters and world fairs. His most recent novel deals with one of the most fraught subjects in US history: the long march of General William ...

Masters of Art

John Sutherland

18 December 1980
Loon Lake 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Macmillan, 258 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 333 30641 4
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Alice fell 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 124 pp., £5.50, November 1980, 0 224 01872 8
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The Covenant 
by James Michener.
Secker, 873 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 436 27966 5
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Ancesteral Vices 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 231 pp., £6.50, November 1980, 0 436 45809 8
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... The jacket informs us that Loon Lake is ‘a novel by E.L.Doctorow Author of RAGTIME’. Ragtime must have been a hard act to follow. In its day (1975), it was the most highly paid-for novel ever. Doctorow had well over two million dollars in subsidiary-rights advances and a whole generation of readers were introduced by it to the meaning of the word ‘hype’. The receipts are still not all in (for ...

The Taste of Peapods

Matthew Reynolds: E.L. Doctorow

11 February 2010
Homer and Langley 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Little, Brown, 224 pp., £11.99, January 2010, 978 1 4087 0215 4
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... The American historical novelist E.L.Doctorow has spoken of the adventure of his process of composition, of the excitement of not knowing where he is going to end up. For a reader, too, the feeling of being searchingly led forward is one of the ...

Edgar and Emma

John Sutherland

20 February 1986
World’s Fair 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Joseph, 275 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 7181 2685 8
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The Adventures of Robina 
edited by Emma Tennant.
Faber, 165 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 571 13796 2
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... I take the following details from Current Biography, July 1976. Edgar L. Doctorow was born in New York City on 6 January 1931 to David R. and Rose Doctorow, whom he has described as ‘old-fashioned social democrats’. His grandparents on both sides were Jewish immigrants from Russia. Doctorow grew up on Eastburn Avenue, in the Bronx. His mother was a ...
28 September 1989
The Vision of Elena Silves 
by Nicholas Shakespeare.
Collins, 263 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 00 271031 5
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Billy Bathgate 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Macmillan, £11.95, September 1989, 0 333 51376 2
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Buffalo Afternoon 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 535 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12634 7
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The Message to the Planet 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 563 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 7011 3479 8
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... politics. But Shakespeare has chosen an artful form of narrative that cannot carry any great burden of exposition. I wish that Collins had appended ‘In Pursuit of Guzman’ to the novel. E.L.Doctorow’s last three novels have returned to the period of his boyhood, the Thirties. Each features boy heroes and mingles daydreams of adolescence with the adult disciplines of Modernist fiction. Names ...

Long live the codex

John Sutherland: The future of books

5 July 2001
Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future 
by Jason Epstein.
Norton, 188 pp., £16.95, March 2001, 0 393 04984 1
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... insightful’ (Toni Morrison); ‘a putative classic … fine and impeccable style’ (Norman Mailer); ‘an extremely important literary document, elegantly written and impeccably argued’ (E.L.Doctorow). Norton should distribute little blue sachets of salt, like the ones you used to get in packets of crisps, with this volume, but it’s touching to see Epstein’s pals rallying round. What literary ...

Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks

Slavoj Žižek: Gentlemen of the Left

20 January 2011
... Of course one cannot trust the façade, the official documents, but neither do we find truth in the gossip shared behind that façade. Appearance, the public face, is never a simple hypocrisy. E.L.Doctorow once remarked that appearances are all we have, so we should treat them with great care. We are often told that privacy is disappearing, that the most intimate secrets are open to public probing. But ...

Cover Stories

Patrick Parrinder

4 April 1985
Lives of the Poets: A Novella​ and Six Stories 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Joseph, 145 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 7181 2529 0
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The Pork Butcher 
by David Hughes.
Constable, 123 pp., £5.95, April 1984, 0 09 465510 3
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Out of the Blue 
by John Milne.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 241 11489 6
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... Here’s something out of the quaint past, a man reading a book,’ remarks E.L.Doctorow’s narrator as he rides the New York subway. The other passengers in the subway are not readers but listeners, hooked to their earphones and tape-players, ‘listening their way back from literacy ...

The Tarnished Age

Richard Mayne

3 September 1981
David O. Selznick’s Hollywood 
by Ronald Haver.
Secker, 425 pp., £35, December 1980, 0 436 19128 8
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My Early life 
by Ronald Reagan and Richard Hubler.
Sidgwick, 316 pp., £7.95, April 1981, 0 283 98771 5
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Naming Names 
by Victor Navasky.
Viking, 482 pp., $15.95, October 1980, 0 670 50393 2
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... enjoyed great celebrity in the United States. Navasky is a graduate of the Yale Law School, has worked on Monocle and the New York Times, and became editor of the Nation in 1978. Kurt Vonnegut, E.L.Doctorow, Studs Terkel and Tom Wicker are among the admirers quoted on the dust-jacket; and, as if that weren’t enough, Navasky himself twinkles out on the back flap in a checked open-neck shirt, a beard ...

I have not heard her voice in a long, long time

Thomas Powers: Edna and Parker Ford

4 October 2017
Between Them 
by Richard Ford.
Bloomsbury, 175 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 0 06 266188 3
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... to hang out with writers, while earning the master of fine arts degree needed to teach writing. Among his teachers were Oakley Hall, a successful writer of adventure and western novels, and E.L.Doctorow, who was writing his best novel during Ford’s years in Irvine, The Book of Daniel (1971), which should have won all the major awards his later novels did win. With his MFA, awarded in 1970, Ford ...

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