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Nathan Asch (1902–1964)

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Nathan Asch was the eldest son of the famous writer Sholem Asch and his wife Mathilde Shapiro. He and his brother Moses (Moe) awere born in Warsaw before the family moved to Paris and then emigrated to the USA, settling in New York City. Nathan attended public school and studied at Syracuse University and Columbia University. He worked as a stockbroker for a while in 1923 and then returned to Paris, where he began his career as a writer. In 1924, he made his publication debut with three stories in the Transatlantic Review. They later appeared as episodes in his first novel, The Office (1925). Nathan Asch became a member of the expatriate literary and artistic world of Paris in the 1920s. Among his friends were Josephine Herbst, Kaye Boyle, Evan Shipman, Ford Madox Ford, Ernest Hemingway, Malcolm Cowley, and Robert McAlmon. Asch met and married Lysel Ingwersen, an American in France. They returned to the USA in 1926 and lived in the same boarding house as Hart Crane in Paterson, New Jersey. His novel Love in Chartres was published in 1927. Nathan Asch worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter for Paramount Pictures. He wrote many short stories published by leading magazines such as the New Yorker, The New Republic, Commentary, and the Yale Review. In 1930, he tried to obtain a Guggenheim Fellowship to visit Poland and his relatives scattered throughout Europe; he particularly wanted to see his maternal grandfather, the poet M.M. Shapiro, with whom he had lived for several months before leaving Poland. During World War II, Nathan Asch enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving as a journalist in London and later as a member of the Allied Occupation Forces in Paris. After the war, he and his second wife Carol Tasker Miles moved to Mill Valley, California. During the McCarthy era, the House Un-American Activities Committee probed both Nathan and his father's supposed left-wing activities and connections. During the early 1950s, Nathan Asch wrote a novel called Paris Is Home that he planned would be part of a series tentatively entitled "Marginal Man." Of the series, he completed only one more novel, London Is a Lonely Town, which was never accepted for publication. The last piece he published was the story "My Father and I," which appeared in the January 1965 issue of Commentary, a month after his death at age 62 from lung cancer.
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