James Atlas in conversation with Judith Thurman
Wednesday, February 6
Book reading and signing
“Anyone even remotely interested in the art of biography will be captivated.”- Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton.
In this wide-ranging and engaging memoir, biographer James Atlas reveals what it’s like to devote your own life to writing the lives of others. Atlas describes the pitfalls, excitements and challenges he faced writing acclaimed biographies of both dead (Delmore Schwartz) and living authors (elusive literary icon Saul Bellow). He also offers a compelling tour of his genre’s history, as he brings to life the careers of Samuel Johnson and his biographer Boswell; Victorian masters Mrs. Gaskell and Thomas Carlyle; and his own Oxford tutor, Joyce’s master biographer Richard Ellmann. The result is, as Publishers Weekly puts it, “a lively and elegant biography of biography itself.”
James Atlas, for many years an editor at The New York Times, is the author of Bellow: A Biography, and Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet (nominated for the National Book Award). He is the founder of the Lipper/Viking Penguin Lives series. Judith Thurman, the National Book Award-winning biographer of Isak Dinesen and Colette, is a staff writer at The New Yorker.