January 2, 1933|
New York City
May 10, 2003 (aged 70)|
|Occupation||Essayist, screenwriter, novelist|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
Leonard Michaels (January 2, 1933 – May 10, 2003) was an American writer of short stories, novels, and essays.
Early Life and education
Michaels was born in New York City to Jewish parents; his father was born in Poland. He attended New York University and was awarded a BA degree, and then went on to earn an MA and PhD in English literature from the University of Michigan. After receiving his doctorate, Leonard Michaels moved to Berkeley, California, where he was to spend most of his adult life and become Professor of English at the University of California. Michaels would later explain literary theory to magazine readers across America.
In 1969, Michael's first book was published – Going Places, a collection of short stories. The book established his reputation as one of the most brilliant of that era's fiction writers; the stories are urbane, funny, and written in a private, hectic diction that gives them a remarkable edge.
Michaels' first novel, released in 1981, was The Men's Club. It is story-like comedy that simultaneously attacks and celebrates the absurdities of men as they gather in a kind of urban support group. In 1986, the novel was made into a film, directed by Peter Medak, with the screenplay by Michaels, and starring Roy Scheider, Harvey Keitel, Stockard Channing, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Frank Langella.
Michaels' second and last novel was published in 1992. Titled Sylvia, it is a fictionalized memoir of his first wife, Sylvia Bloch, who committed suicide. Sylvia is described in the book as "abnormally bright" but prone to violent rages, "like a madwoman imitating a college student."
Michaels was a Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
Michaels had a daughter with his third wife, the poet Brenda Hillman. His son Jesse Michaels (from his second marriage) was the vocalist and primary lyricist in the seminal underground punk rock band Operation Ivy.
- Short Story Collections
- Going Places (1969, ISBN 0-374-16496-7)
- I Would Have Saved Them If I Could (1975, ISBN 0-374-17411-3)
- Shuffle (1990, ISBN 0-374-26349-3)
- A Girl With a Monkey: New and Selected Stories (2000, ISBN 1-56279-120-6)
- The Collected Stories (2007, ISBN 0-374-12654-2)
- To Feel These Things (2000, ISBN 1-56279-040-4)
- The Essays of Leonard Michaels 2009, ISBN 978-0-374-14880-5
- "Leonard Michaels". Senate.universityofcalifornia.edu. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "The Action of Metaphor". harpers.org. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "Harpers". harpers.org. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "National Public Radio (NPR)". npr.org. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "New Yorker Magazine". newyorker.com. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "Paris Review interview". theparisreview.org. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
- "Leonard Michaels Biography". eNotes.com. January 2, 1933. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Leonard Michaels on IMDb
- The Improbable Moralist Both an appreciation of his art and review of The Collected Stories by Phillip Lopate; published in The Nation on-line June 21, 2007 (July 9, 2007 issue)
- Leonard Michaels – let us not forget him review of The Collected Stories, by Paul Wilner. This piece appeared July 1, 2007 at SF Gate.com. The review also extends into a backlog of reflection about Michaels' Sylvia and an essay on Michaels' called Difficult Friends in Wendy Lesser's Room For Doubt.
- To Live in a Culture: Leonard Michaels' Sylvia and The Collected Stories piece by Nora Griffin at The Brooklyn Rail
- Interview: Wyatt Mason on Leonard Michaels at Harper's
- Obituary of the University of California
- "Audio: Fiction Podcast: Rivka Galchen reads Leonard Michaels". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-01-18. – A reading of Michaels' story "Cryptology".
- "Review-a-Day – The Collected Stories by Leonard Michaels, reviewed by Wyatt Mason, "The Irresponsibility of Feelings: Reading Leonard Michaels" – at Powell's Books". Powells.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.