Monday, June 15, 2020

Joyce Carol Oates

"As I am not drawn to art that makes me feel good, comfortable, or at ease," writes Joyce Carol Oates, "so I am not drawn to essays that 'smile,' except in the context of larger, more complex ambitions." Born (1938) in Lockport, New York, Oates graduated from Syracuse University in 1960 (having won Mademoiselle's college fiction award a year earlier) and received a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1961. She published the first of more than two dozen novels, With Shuddering Fall, in 1964, and with the novel them (1969) became the youngest writer ever to receive the National Book Award for fiction. Oates taught in the English department of the University of Windsor, in Ontario, from 1967 to 1978, when she moved to Princeton University, where she is Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor. Besides her novels (some of them written under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith) and many volumes of short stories (for which she won an O. Henry Special Award for Continuing Achievement), Oates has published numerous volumes of poetry and plays (many of which have been produced). Her nonfiction includes such literary criticism as The Edge of Impossibility: Tragic Forms in Literature (1972) and New Heaven, New Earth: The Visionary Experience in Literature (1974) and several essay collections: Contraries: Essays (1981),  The Profane Art: Essays and Reviews (1983), and (Woman) Writer: Occasions and Opportunities (1988). She served as a guest editor of The Best American Essays 1991.

- p. 583, The Best American Essays of the Century.

JOYCE CAROL OATES — novelist, essayist, critic, poet, playwright, and teacher — is one of our preeminent literary figures and social critics. She has written more than forty novels and novellas, among them the 1970 National Book Award winner Them, as well as several volumes of poetry, many plays, and five books of literary criticism. She has been a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters since 1978. Her most recent work, Blonde, is a novel about Marilyn Monroe.


JOYCE CAROL OATES is the author most recently of Marya: A Life and Raven's Wing, a collection of short stories. Her essay "On Boxing" will be published in an expanded version, with photographs by John Ranard, in 1987. She teaches at Princeton University and helps edit The Ontario Review.

- p. 284, The Best American Essays 1986.


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