Ragtime

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Random House Publishing Group, 1975 - Fiction - 270 pages
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Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.

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Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
10
Section 3
13
Copyright

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About the author (1975)

Known for his novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, and essays, Edgar Lawrence (E.L.) Doctorow was born January 6, 1931, in New York, N.Y. Doctorow's best known works include The Book of Daniel (1971); Ragtime (1975); Loon Lake (1980); World's Fair (1985); Billy Bathgate (1989); and The Waterworks (1994). Media adaptations include Welcome to Hard Times, filmed in 1967 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Ragtime, filmed in 1981 by Dino De Laurentiis; The Book of Daniel, a 1983 Paramount film; and Billy Bathgate, the 1991 film starring Dustin Hoffman. Doctorow's writings have won him numerous accolades. Among them, National Book Award nominations were given to The Book of Daniel in 1972 and Billy Bathgate in 1990, and the award went to World's Fair in 1986. The National Book Critics Circle Award was given to Ragtime in 1976 and Billy Bathgate in 1990. Billy Bathgate also received the PEN/Faulkner Award and the William Dean Howells Medal in 1990. Doctorow began his career as a script reader at Columbia Pictures and as a senior editor for the New American Library, 1959-64. He was editor-in-chief for Dial Press from 1964 to 1969, where he also served as vice president and publisher in his last year on staff. He was a writer-in-residence, 1969-70, at the University of California, Irvine, and was a member of the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College from 1971 to 1978. He became Professor of English and American Letters at New York University in 1982. Doctorow married the writer Helen Esther Setzer on August 20, 1954. They have three children, Jenny, Caroline, Richard. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. Doctorow received an A.B. in philosophy (with honors) in 1952 from Kenyon College and did graduate work at Columbia University 1952-53. He has also received numerous honorary degrees.

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