West, Nathanael

West, Nathanael
orig. Nathan Weinstein

born Oct. 17, 1903, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Dec. 22, 1940, near El Centro, Calif.

U.S. writer.

He attended Brown University and was supporting himself as a hotel manager, giving free or low-rent rooms to struggling fellow writers, when he wrote the novella Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), about an advice columnist whose attempts to solace his correspondents end in ironic defeat. A Cool Million (1934) mocks the American dream as popularized by Horatio Alger. His last novel, The Day of the Locust (1939), depicts the savagery lurking beneath the Hollywood dream. Though not widely read until after his death in an auto accident at age 37, West is now considered a major American novelist.

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▪ American novelist
original name  Nathan Weinstein,  
born Oct. 17, 1903, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Dec. 22, 1940, near El Centro, Calif.

      American writer best known for satiric novels of the 1930s.

      Of middle-class Jewish immigrant parentage, he attended high school in New York City and graduated from Brown University in 1924. During a 15-month stay in Paris, he completed his first novel, The Dream Life of Balso Snell, which told the story of an odd assortment of grotesque characters inside the Trojan horse. It was published in 1931 in an edition of only 500 copies.

      After his return to New York, West supported himself by working as a hotel manager, giving free or low-rent rooms to such struggling fellow writers as Dashiell Hammett, James T. Farrell, and Erskine Caldwell. His second novel, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), deals with a lovelorn columnist whose manipulative attempts to solace his correspondents end in ironic defeat.

      In A Cool Million (1934), West effectively mocks the American success dream popularized by Horatio Alger by portraying a hero who slides from bad to worse while doing the supposedly right thing. In his last years West worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. The Day of the Locust (1939) is, in the opinion of many, the best novel written about Hollywood. It dramatizes the false world and people on the fringes of the movie industry.

      West was killed in an automobile accident with his wife, Eileen McKenney, the heroine of My Sister Eileen (1938), a popular book, play, and film by Ruth McKenney. Never widely read during his lifetime, West attracted attention after World War II, at first in France, where a successful translation of Miss Lonelyhearts appeared in 1946. Publication in 1957 of The Complete Works of Nathanael West sparked new interest in West's work in the United States.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • WEST, NATHANAEL — (pseudonym of Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein; 1903–1940), U.S. novelist. Widely regarded as one of the most distinguished American novelists of the 1930s, West was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants who had settled in New York City, and a brother …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • West,Nathanael — West, Nathanael. Pen name of Nathan Weinstein. 1903 1940. American writer known for his novels of dark comedy, such as Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) and The Day of the Locust (1939). * * * …   Universalium

  • West, Nathanael — orig. Nathan Weinstein (17 oct. 1903, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–22 dic. 1940, cerca de El Centro, Cal.). Escritor estadounidense. Asistió a la Universidad de Brown y se encontraba trabajando como gerente de un hotel, en el que ofrecía habitaciones …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • West, Nathanael —  Pen name of Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein (1903–1940), American novelist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • West, Nathanael — pseud. di Weinstein, Nathan …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • West, Nathanael —    см. Уэст, Натанаел …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Nathanael West — Born Nathan von Wallenstein Weinstein October 17, 1903(1903 10 17) New York City Died December 22, 1940(1940 12 22) (aged 37) El Centro, California Resting place Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens …   Wikipedia

  • West — /west/, n. 1. Benjamin, 1738 1820, U.S. painter, in England after 1763. 2. Mae, 1892? 1980, U.S. actress. 3. Nathanael (Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein), 1902? 40, U.S. novelist. 4. Paul, born 1930, U.S. poet, essayist, and novelist, born in England …   Universalium

  • Nathanael West — [Nathanael West] (1903–40) a US author. His novels, which did not become well known until after his death, were strongly critical of American society. They include ↑Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust (1939), based on his experiences as a …   Useful english dictionary

  • WEST (N.) — WEST NATHANAEL (1903 1940) Trop longtemps méconnu, l’Américain Nathanael West est un écrivain profondément original, qui échappe à toutes les classifications de la critique littéraire. Cela lui vaut d’être généralement présenté comme un écrivain… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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