Meyer Levin

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Meyer Levin (October 7, 1905 – July 9, 1981) was an American novelist. Perhaps best known for his work on the Leopold and Loeb case, Levin worked as a journalist (for the Chicago Daily News and, from 1933–39, as an editor for Esquire).

Career[edit]

Levin published six novels before World War II. Though critical response was good, none were successful financially. Reporter (1929) was a novel of the modern newspapers, Frankie and Johnny (1930) an urban romance, Yehuda (1931) takes place on a kibbutz, and The New Bridge (1933) dealt with unemployed construction workers at the beginning of the Depression. In 1937, Levin published The Old Bunch, a story of immigrant Chicago Jewry that James T. Farrell called "one of the most serious and ambitious novels yet produced by the current generation of American novelists."[1] Citizens (1940) was a fictional account of the 1937 strike at the Republic Steel Company plant outside Chicago.

After the war, Levin wrote, with the approval of the Frank Family, a play based on The Diary of Anne Frank, but his play was not produced. Instead a version of the same story dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett reached Broadway. Levin sued for plagarism.[2]

Meyer wrote the 1956 novel Compulsion, inspired by the Leopold and Loeb case. The novel, for which Levin was given a Special Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 1957, was the basis for Levin's own 1957 play adaptation and the 1959 film based on it, starring Orson Welles.[3] Compulsion was "the first 'documentary' or 'non-fiction novel' ("a style later used in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song").[4]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

Autobiographical works[edit]

Judaica[edit]

  • Beginnings in Jewish Philosophy
  • The Story of Israel
  • An Israel Haggadah for Passover
  • The Story of the Synagogue
  • The Story of the Jewish Way of Life

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saturday Review of Literature, 13 March 1937
  2. ^ An Obsession with Anne Frank Meyer Levin and the Diary Lawrence Graver UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford © 1997 The Regents of the University of California
  3. ^ Jake Hinkson (October 19, 2012). "Leopold and Loeb Still Fascinate 90 Years Later". criminalelement.com. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Meyer Levin's Compulsion": article by Steve Powell in "The Venetian Vase of September 21, 2012

External links[edit]