Chandler Brossard life and biography

Chandler Brossard picture, image, poster

Chandler Brossard biography

Date of birth : 1922-07-18
Date of death : 1993-08-29
Birthplace : Idaho Falls, Indiana
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-06-16
Credited as : Novelist, Wieland, Who Walk in Darkness

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Chandler Brossard was an American novelist, writer, editor, and teacher.

He worked as a journalist for the Washington Post before attaining a writing position with The New Yorker at age nineteen, where editor William Shawn encouraged him to write fiction. His first published novel, Who Walk in Darkness (1952), focused on the bohemian life of 1940s Greenwich Village and is sometimes considered the first beat novel, thus earning Brossard an association with early Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg -- an association Brossard neither sought nor desired. Reviewers who characterized Who Walk in Darkness as a beat novel, Brossard said, "totally missed getting the book. They thought it was a realistic novel, which of course it wasn't. The French critics knew better. They perceived it as the first 'new wave' novel, a nightmare presented as flat documentary."

Brossard received little critical support for his novels in the United States (though they were well-received abroad, particularly in France). In 1971 Anatole Broyard wrote a scathing review of Wake Up. We're Almost There for The New York Times: "Here's a book so transcendently bad it makes us fear not only for the condition of the novel in this country, but for the country itself." Brossard responded in kind and a small controversy festered between them for a time. After 1971, all his fiction was published by small presses: his final full-length novel As the Wolf Howls at The Door was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 1992, and all his shorter fiction from 1971 to 1991 was published posthumously by Sun Dog Press under the title (chosen by Brossard shortly before his death) Over the Rainbow? Hardly: Collected Short Seizures (2005). A special issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction, guest-edited by Steven Moore, is devoted to a critical examination of his work (vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 1987).

During his career Brossard was as an editor for Time magazine, executive editor for The American Mercury, and senior editor for Look magazine (1956-1967). He also wrote criticism for The Nation, Commentary, and The Guardian. From 1969-1971, he was a professor at the experimental Old Westbury College on Long Island. Subsequently, he held brief teaching appointments as a visiting professor, writer-in-residence, or lecturer at other universities both in the United States and abroad, including the University of Birmingham in England, The New School for Social Research in New York, and Schiller College in Paris. He was married twice and had three daughters. He died in August 1993.

Author of books:

Who Walk in Darkness (1952, novel)
The Bold Saboteurs (1953, novel)
All Passion Spent (1954, novel)
The Wrong Turn (1954, novel, pseudo. Daniel Harper)
The Double View (1960, novel, pseudo. Daniel Harper)
Episode with Erika (1963, novel)
The Nymphets (1963, novel, pseudo. Daniel Harper)
The Insane World of Adolf Hitler (1966, biography)
A Man For All Women (1966)
I Want More of This (1967)
The Spanish Scene (1968, vignettes)
Wake Up. We’re Almost There (1971, novel)
Did Christ Make Love? (1973, novel)
Dirty Books for Little Folks (1978)
Raging Joys, Sublime Violations (1981)
A Chimney Sweep Comes Clean (1985)
As the Wolf Howls at My Door (1992, novel)

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