TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Nathanael West - Life Stories, Books, and Links
 
Biographical Information

Stories about Nathanael West

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
 
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
 
Poster of a 1975 film production of Nathanael West's <em>The Day of the Locust</em>.
Nathanael West   (1903 - 1940)
 
Category:  American Literature
 
Born:  October 17, 1903
New York City, New York, United States
 
Died:  April 19, 1940
El Centro, California, United States
 
Related authors:
William Faulkner
 
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Nathanael West - LIFE STORIES
 
 
5/16/1939     West's The Day of the Locust
On this day in 1939 Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust was published. Although now ranked as one of the best novels about Hollywood, and on the Modern Library's Top 100 of the Century list, The Day of the Locust was a commercial flop, compelling West to continue working as a screenwriter, and living in the place that his novel so darkly satirized.
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SELECTED WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR
 
 
Nathanael West : Novels and Other Writings : The Dream Life of Balso Snell / Miss Lonelyhearts / A Cool Million / The Day of the Locust / Letters
anthology, fiction
 
 
FIND BOOKS BY NATHANAEL WEST AT Powell's Books
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SELECTED BOOKS ABOUT (or related to) THIS AUTHOR
 
 
American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s
by Jonathan Veitch
literary criticism and analysis
 
Contemporary Black Humour American Novel: From Nathanael West to Thomas Berger
by R.K. Sharma
literary criticism and analysis
 
Critical Essays on Nathanael West
by Ben Siegel (Editor)
literary criticism and analysis
 
Nathanael West
by Harold Bloom
biography
 
FIND BOOKS BY NATHANAEL WEST AT Powell's Books
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Literary Traveler
Find an overview of West's life and accomplishments, with commentary on The Day of the Locust, Miss Lonelyhearts, and the author's views on California and American culture.

"Acquiring a sort of 'radical chic,' the book today draws acclaim as a 'precursor of American black comedy,' a sort of depression-era Pulp Fiction. In this bewildering manner, West's obelisk has attracted the mindless popularity today reserved for anything remotely ending in riot and has thus fallen victim to the very culture it reviled. In a wasteland of contradiction, this is perhaps the most profound irony of all."
Major Practioners of the Grotesque
Read a scholarly essay which explores West's critique of Hollywood. With photographs and a bibliography.

"Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust stands as one of the finest postmodern critiques of the dream culture that pervades the infamous movie capital of the world. In it he shows how Hollywood teases with promises of sunshine and oranges, but for the fatigued masses, 'The sun is a joke. Oranges can't titillate their jaded masses.' Moreover, the city's wasted populace moves through a landscape resembling something from a painting. Other times West gives a rapid-fire staccato of images, a cinematic montage, to reveal the absurdities of the surroundings. West creates these startling portraits of landscapes and cinematic montages of the studio lot to produce a grotesque landscape in which the movement of the story's characters through these two progressively demoniac settings reflects the greater dissolution of the American dream."
Nathanael West and the American Apocalypse
A scholarly essay offers a brief overview of apocalyptic literature, and explains the particular contribution of West's The Day of the Locusts. With biographical information and bibliography.

"... the neglected Nathanael West is to be counted as a dark, dark transmitter of apocalyptic prophecy, and especially in this novel which offers no comfort whatsoever to its characters or to its readers. It offers no hope that America of the thirties could avert a slide into social chaos and revolution which would annihilate the idea of America in the production of a new fascist state."
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June 25, 2017
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