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Remembering E.L. Doctorow, great American mythologist

Remembering E.L. Doctorow, great American mythologist

E.L. Doctorow, who died Tuesday of complications from lung cancer at 84, was perhaps the most American novelist of his generation. More than Philip Roth or John Updike, more even than Norman Mailer, Doctorow created fiction that existed at the intersection of American myth and hypocrisy. His first novel, “Welcome to Hard Times” (1960), written while he was a reader for a movie company, took the conventions of the western and upended them, highlighting the inevitability of evil, or at least of chaos, and our weakness or indecision when faced with it. But it was only with the publication of his third novel, “The Book of Daniel” (1971), that Doctorow truly...

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