• Birth—February 3, 1926
• Where—Yonkers, New York, USA
• Death—November 7, 1992
• Where—Birmingham, Alabama
• Education—World War II
A native New Yorker, Richard Yates was born in 1926; his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was a finalist for the National Book Award (in the same year as Catch-22). Much admired by peers, he was known during his lifetime as the foremost fiction writer of the post-war "age of anxiety." He published his last novel in 1986, and died in 1992. (From the publisher.)
Richard Yates, an American novelist and short story writer, was a chronicler of mid-20th century mainstream American life, often cited as artistically residing somewhere between J.D. Salinger and John Cheever. He is regarded as the foremost novelist of the post-WWII Age of Anxiety.
Born in Yonkers, New York, Yates came from an unstable home. His parents divorced when he was three and much of his childhood was spent in many different towns and residences. Yates first became interested in journalism and writing while attending Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut. After leaving Avon, Yates joined the Army, serving in France and Germany during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Upon his return to New York he worked as a journalist, freelance ghost writer (briefly writing speeches for Senator Robert Kennedy) and publicity writer for Remington Rand Corporation.
His career as a novelist began in 1961 with the publication of the widely heralded Revolutionary Road. He subsequently taught writing at Columbia University, the New School for Social Research, Boston University (where his papers are archived), at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, at Wichita State University, and at the University of Southern California Master of Professional Writing Program.
In 1962, he wrote the screenplay for a film adaptation of William Styron's Lie Down In Darkness. Yates was also an acclaimed author of short stories. Despite this, only one of his short stories appeared in the The New Yorker (after repeated rejections). This story, "The Canal," was published in the magazine nine years after the author's death to celebrate the 2001 release of The Collected Stories of Richard Yates.
For much of his life, Yates's work met almost universal critical acclaim, yet not one of his books sold over 12,000 copies in hardcover first edition. All of his novels were out of print in the years after his death, although he was championed by writers as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Parker, William Styron, Tennessee Williams and John Cheever. Yates's brand of realism was a direct influence on writers such as Andre Dubus, Raymond Carver and Richard Ford.
Twice divorced, Yates was the father of three daughters: Sharon, Monica and Gina. In 1992, he died of emphysema and complications from minor surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.
His reputation has substantially increased posthumously and many of his novels have since been reissued in new editions. This current success can be largely traced to the influence of Stewart O'Nan's 1999 essay in the Boston Review "The Lost World of Richard Yates: How the great writer of the Age of Anxiety Disappeared from Print." With the revival of interest in Yates' life and work after his death, Blake Bailey published the first in-depth biography of Yates, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates (2003). (From Wikipedia.)
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