(JNS.org) Award-winning American Jewish author E.L. Doctorow died Tuesday at age 84 due to complications from lung cancer, his son Richard Doctorow told the New York Times.
Doctorow wrote a dozen novels, three volumes of short fiction, and one stage drama. His most well-known written works were fictional historical novels such as “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate,” and “The March.” He also wrote essays and commentary on literature and politics.
“The distinguished characteristic of E. L. Doctorow’s work is its double vision. In each of his books he experiments with the forms of fiction, working for effects that others haven’t already achieved; in each he develops a tone, a structure and a texture that he hasn’t used before. At the same time, he’s a deeply traditional writer, reworking American history, American literary archetypes, even exhausted subliterary genres. It’s an astonishing performance, really,” wrote literary critic Peter S. Prescott in Newsweek in 1984.
On Twitter, President Barack Obama called Doctorow “one of America’s greatest novelists.”
“His books taught me much, and he will be missed,” Obama said, citing “Ragtime” as his favorite Doctorow novel.