| Jan 20, 2010
Erich Segal, a Yale University classics professor whose first novel, the weepy "Love Story," became a pop-culture phenomenon, selling more than 20 million copies in three dozen languages and spawning an iconic catchphrase of the 1970s, died Sunday in...
| Dec 13, 2009
Ben Hecht used Oscars for doorstops and routinely heaped scorn on the studio pontiffs who, throughout the 1930s and 1940s, paid him an average of $3,500 a day. Before he co-wrote "The Front Page," the play that brought him fame and opportunity, before...
| Oct 25, 2009
| 4:33 PM
When the Nobel Prize in literature was announced this month, the name "Herta Muller" met much American head-scratching. Muller, an ethnically German Romanian who writes of trials of living under a repressive dictatorship, has a strong reputation in Europe...
| Oct 4, 2009
Aldous Huxley: "The Devils of Loudun" (HarperPerennial)
In 1643, an entire convent in the small French village of Loudun was apparently possessed by the devil. The convent's charismatic priest was eventually convicted of seducing the nuns in his charge...
| Sep 21, 2009
Leon Kirchner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of expressive, rigorous, atonal yet romantic music, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home in New York. He was 90.
A pianist and conductor as well as a composer, Kirchner stood somewhat...
| Aug 30, 2009
" 'I must not,' said Jane, 'think of rats.' And proceeded to think of them as hard as she could." Bland, boring sentence, right? When I tell class after class of writing students that this one sentence -- plucked many decades ago from a children's book...
| Jun 21, 2009
The Essays of Leonard Michaels
Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 206 pp., $26
Until Leonard Michaels was 5 and learned English in school, he spoke only Yiddish in the Lower East Side enclave where his Polish-Jewish parents raised him. And maybe...
| Mar 29, 2009
Patrick White, the first great novelist to come out of Australia, was born in 1912, won the Nobel Prize in 1973, died in 1990 and his work promptly dropped from fashion. His style of narrative-driven psychological modernism seemed outmoded, perhaps,...
| Jan 28, 2009
John Updike, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction whose novels and short stories exposed an undercurrent of ambivalence and disappointment in small-town, middle-class America, died Tuesday. He was 76.
Updike's death from lung cancer was...
| Jan 27, 2009
| 7:33 PM
For David Foster Wallace, he was one of "the Great Male Narcissists." Martin Amis declared that the last section of his 1989 memoir "Self-Consciousness" was "to my knowledge the best thing yet written on what it is like to get older: age, and the only end...
| Jan 4, 2009
"Humboldt's Gift," first published in 1975 and just re-issued (Penguin: 512 pp., $16), is both a crazy mess of a novel and an abiding testament to the vital exuberance of Saul Bellow's genius. "The book of ballads published by Von Humboldt Fleisher in the...