Dubin's Lives

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Dubin's Lives
First edition cover
Author Bernard Malamud
Cover artist Honi Werner[1]
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 362 pp
ISBN 0-374-14414-1
Preceded by Rembrandt's Hat (1973)
Followed by God's Grace (1982)

Dubin's Lives is the seventh published novel by the American writer Bernard Malamud. The title character is a biographer working on a life of D. H. Lawrence. It first appeared in hardcover from the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1979. Portions of the novel originally appeared, in somewhat different form, in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Playboy. It is still in print, Farrar, Straus and Giroux having reissued a paperback edition in 2003 with an Introduction by Thomas Mallon.[2]


The novel begins with two quotations.

What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?Thoreau

Give me continence and chastity, but not yet.Augustine of Hippo

The first epigraph points to the notion that Dubin has written a biography of Thoreau and also alerts the reader to the moral complexities that the novel explores. The second connects the novel with themes of promiscuity and spiritual struggle for which Augustine is famous.

Plot summary[edit]

William Dubin of Vermont is living the comfortable life of an accomplished writer. Though his marriage to Kitty is slightly timeworn, it is stable and loving. While researching the biography of D. H. Lawrence, he meets twenty-three-year-old Fanny and begins an affair with her. Predictably, the consequences of this act rock Dubin's life and invite the reader to draw parallels with similar events in the lives of the writers Dubin is researching.


  1. ^ Modern first editions - a set on Flickr
  2. ^ Malamud, Bernard Dubin's Lives: A Novel. with an 'Introduction' by Thomas Mallon. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. First eBook edition: Nov. 2011. ISBN 9781466805927