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Encyclopedia > Nathanael West

Nathanael West (October 17, 1903December 22, 1940) was the pen name of US author, screenwriter and satirist Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein. is the 290th day of the year (291st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1900 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Friday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... December 22 is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A pseudonym (Greek pseudo + -onym: false name) is an artificial, fictitious name, also known as an alias, used by an individual as an alternative to a persons true name. ... List of satirists below - writers, cartoonists and others known for their involvement in satire - humourous social criticism. ...

Contents

Early life

Nathanael West was born in New York City, the first child of German-speaking Russian Jewish parents from Lithuania who maintained an upper-middle class household in a Jewish neighborhood on the Upper West Side. West displayed little ambition in academics, dropping out of high school and only gaining admission into Tufts University by forging his high school transcript. After being expelled from Tufts, West got into Brown University by appropriating the transcript of a fellow Tufts student who was also named Nathan Weinstein. Although West did little schoolwork at Brown, he read extensively. He ignored the realist fiction of his American contemporaries in favor of French surrealists and British and Irish poets of the 1890s, in particular Oscar Wilde. West was interested in unusual literary style as well as unusual content. He became interested in Christianity and mysticism as experienced or expressed through literature and art. West's classmates at Brown nicknamed him "Pep"; it is not known whether this indicated a great deal of physical energy on West's part or (in the sarcastic tradition of many nicknames) the exact opposite. Since Jewish students were not allowed to join fraternities, his main friend was his future brother-in-law S.J. Perelman, who was to become one of America's most erudite comic writers. New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... Tufts University is a private research university in Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts, suburbs of Boston. ... Tufts University is a university located in Medford, Massachusetts (near Boston). ... Brown University is a private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. ... Literary realism most often refers to the trend, in early 19th century French literature, towards depictions of contemporary life and society as it is, in the spirit of general Realism, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. ... Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility 1942 Surrealism[1] is a cultural movement that began in the mid-1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... Oscar Fingal OFlahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and author of short stories. ... Christianity percentage by country, purple is highest, orange is lowest Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch... Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός (mystikos) an initiate (of the Eleusinian Mysteries, μυστήρια (mysteria) meaning initiation[1])) is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight; and the belief that such experience is one... Sidney Joseph Perelman, almost always known as S. J. Perelman (February 1, 1904 – October 17, 1979), was a United States humorist, author, and screenwriter. ...


West barely finished college with a degree. He then went to Paris for three months, and it was at this point that he changed his name to Nathanael West. West's family, who had supported him thus far, ran into financial difficulties in the late 1920s. West returned home and worked sporadically in construction for his father, eventually finding a job as the night manager of the Kenmore Hotel on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. One of West's real-life experiences at the hotel inspired the incident between Romola Martin and Homer Simpson that would later appear in The Day of the Locust. City flag City coat of arms Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: Tossed by the waves, she does not sink) The Eiffel Tower in Paris, as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro. ... 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of individuals whose dreams of success have effectively failed. ...


Career as author

Although West had been working on his writing since college, it was not until his quiet night job at the hotel that he found the time to put his novel together. It was at this time that West wrote what would eventually become Miss Lonelyhearts (1933). In 1931, however, two years before he completed Miss Lonelyhearts, West published The Dream Life of Balso Snell, a novel he had conceived of in college. By this time, West was working within a group of writers working in and around New York that included William Carlos Williams and Dashiell Hammett. Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933, is Nathanael Wests second novel. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933, is Nathanael Wests second novel. ... The novel presents a young man’s immature and cynical search for meaning in a series of dreamlike encounters inside the entrails of the Trojan Horse. ... William Carlos Williams Dr. William Carlos Williams (sometimes known as WCW) (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963), was an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. ... Samuel Dashiell Hammett (May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. ...


In 1933, West bought a farm in eastern Pennsylvania but soon got a job as a contract scriptwriter for Columbia Pictures and moved to Hollywood. He published a third novel, A Cool Million, in 1934. None of West's three works sold well, however, so he spent the mid-1930s in financial difficulty, sporadically collaborating on screenplays. Many of the films he worked on were B-movies, such as the 1939's Five Came Back. It was at this time that West wrote The Day of the Locust, which would be published in 1939. West took many of the settings and minor characters of his novel directly from his experience living in a hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 280 miles (455 km)  - Length 160 miles (255 km)  - % water 2. ... The Columbia Pictures logo from 1993 to the present Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. ... ... A Cool Million: The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin is Nathanael Wests third novel, published in 1934. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term B-movie originally referred to a film designed to be distributed as the lower half of a double feature, often a genre film featuring cowboys, gangsters or vampires. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Five Came Back is a 1939 disaster film, which predated many of the more famous air disaster films, such as Airport. ... The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of individuals whose dreams of success have effectively failed. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Hollywood Boulevard as taken from the Kodak Theatre Hollywood Boulevard is an avenue in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States, beginning at Sunset Boulevard in the east and running northwest to Vermont Avenue, where it straightens out and runs due west to Laurel Canyon Boulevard. ...


Death

West and his new wife, Eileen McKenney, died in a car accident the day after his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald had died of a heart attack. West had always been an extremely bad driver, and many friends (including Perelman) who otherwise enjoyed his company had always refused to accept rides when West was driving. It is rumored that the car accident that killed West and his wife was caused when the author, grief-stricken over the death of his friend, ran a stop sign. McKenney had been the subject of the book, My Sister Eileen, written in 1938 by her older sister, Ruth McKenney. West and McKenney were buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, New York. Eileen McKenney was the wife of the American writer Nathanael West. ... Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American Jazz Age author of novels and short stories. ... My Sister Eileen is the name of several works based on short stories by Ruth McKenney about her adventures in Greenwich Village with her sister, Eileen McKenney. ... Queens County, often referred to as simply Queens, is the largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City, USA. It is home to New York Citys two major airports (John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia), the New York Mets baseball team, the USTA National Tennis Center, Silvercup... NY redirects here. ...


His work

Although West was still a relative unknown at the time, his reputation grew after his death, especially with the publication of his collected novels in 1957. Miss Lonelyhearts is widely regarded as West's masterpiece, and The Day of the Locust still stands as one of the best novels written about the early years of Hollywood. It is often compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, written at about the same time and also set in Hollywood. If one were to draw a family tree of authors who employed "black humor" in their works of fiction, West could be seen as the offspring of Gogol and Poe, and the progenitor of Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov and Martin Amis (whose use of movingly inarticulate e-mails in Yellow Dog are a 21st century echo of the letters to Miss Lonelyhearts). A more direct and pronounced influence has been traced from West's work to that of his near-contemporary, Flannery O'Connor. Year 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1957 Gregorian calendar). ... Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933, is Nathanael Wests second novel. ... The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of individuals whose dreams of success have effectively failed. ... Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American Jazz Age author of novels and short stories. ... Categories: Literature stubs | 1941 books | 1994 books | Novels ... Saul Bellow (left) with Keith Botsford Saul Bellow, born Solomon Bellows, (Lachine, Quebec, Canada, June 10, 1915 – April 5, 2005 in Brookline, Massachusetts) was an acclaimed Canadian-born American writer. ... Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Набо́ков, pronounced ) (April 22 [O.S. April 10] 1899, Saint Petersburg – July 2, 1977, Montreux) was a Russian-American author. ... Photo of Martin Amis by Robert Birnbaum Martin Amis (born August 25, 1949) is an English novelist. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Mary Flannery OConnor (b. ...


Most of West's fiction is, in one way or another, a response to the Depression that hit America with the stock market crash in October 1929 and continued throughout the 1930s. The obscene, garish landscapes of The Day of the Locust gain added force in light of the fact that the remainder of the country was living in drab poverty at the time. West saw the American dream as having been betrayed, both spiritually and materially, in the years of this economic depression. This idea of the corrupt American dream West pioneered has endured long after his death: indeed, the poet W.H. Auden coined the term "West's disease" to refer to poverty that exists in both a spiritual and economic sense. The Great Depression started after October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. ... The 1929 stock market crash devastated economies worldwide The Wall Street Crash refers to the stock market crash that occurred on October 29, 1929, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed, leading eventually to the Great Depression. ... The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of individuals whose dreams of success have effectively failed. ... Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1939 Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907–September 29, 1973) was an English poet. ...


Published works

for a complete list of works see Bibliography of Nathanael West This is a bibliography of works by Nathanael West This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ...


Novels

The novel presents a young man’s immature and cynical search for meaning in a series of dreamlike encounters inside the entrails of the Trojan Horse. ... Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933, is Nathanael Wests second novel. ... A Cool Million: The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin is Nathanael Wests third novel, published in 1934. ... The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of individuals whose dreams of success have effectively failed. ...

Plays

  • Good Hunting (1938)
  • Even Stephen

Good Hunting is a 1938 play written by Nathanael West, in collaboration with Joseph Schrank. ...

Posthumous Collections

  • Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. Nathanael West, Novels and Other Writings (Library of America, 1997) ISBN 978-1-88301128-4

Volumes in the Library of America series The Library of America (LoA) is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature. ...

Screenplays

  • Ticket to Paradise (1936)
  • Follow Your Heart (1936)
  • The President's Mystery (1936)
  • Rhythm in the Clouds (1937)
  • It Could Happen to You (1937)
  • Born to Be Wild (1938)
  • Five Came Back (1939)
  • I Stole A Million (1939)
  • The Spirit of Culver (1940)
  • Men Against the Sky (1940)
  • Let's Make Music (1940)

External links

  • Literary Traveler: The California Dreams of Nathanael West
  • Nathanael West and the American Apocalyptic
  • Nathanael West's Centennial

Further reading

  • Martin, Jay, Nathanael West: The Art of His Life (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970)
The Works of Nathanael West
Novels The Dream Life of Balso SnellMiss LonelyheartsA Cool MillionThe Day of the Locust
Short Stories Business Deal • The Imposter • Western Union Boy • Mr. Potts of Pottstown • The Adventurer • Three Eskimos • Tibetan Night
Poetry Burn the Cities
Plays Good Hunting (with Joseph Schrank) • Even Stephen (with S.J. Perelman)
Screenplays
(in collaboration with others, unless noted otherwise)
Republic Productions Ticket to ParadiseFollow Your HeartThe President's MysteryGangs of New YorkJim Hanvey - DetectiveRhythm in the CloudsLadies in DistressBachelor GirlBorn to be WildIt Could Happen to YouOrphans of the StreetStormy Weather
Columbia The SquealerA Cool Million (a screen story; never filmed)
RKO Pictures Five Came BackMen Against the Sky (solo screenwriting credit) • Let's Make Music (solo screenwriting credit) • Before the Fact (never filmed) • Stranger on the Third Floor
Universal Studios I Stole A Million (solo screenwriting credit) • The Spirit of Culver

  Results from FactBites:
 
Nathanael West - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (895 words)
Nathanael West was born in New York City, the first child of German-speaking Russian Jewish parents from Lithuania who maintained an upper-middle class household in a Jewish neighborhood on the Upper West Side.
West's classmates at Brown nicknamed him "Pep": it is not known whether this indicated a great deal of physical energy on West's part, or (in the sarcastic tradition of many nicknames) the precise opposite.
Though West was still a relative unknown at the time, his reputation grew after his death, especially with the publication of his collected novels in 1957.
West - definition of West in Encyclopedia (319 words)
West is most commonly a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.
West is the direction towards which the sun sets at the equinox.
Moving continuously west is following a circle of latitude, which, except in the case of the equator, is not a great circle, hence not the shortest route.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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