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Alison Lurie (1926–2020)

Author of Foreign Affairs

31+ Works 5,766 Members 117 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Novelist Alison Lurie was born September 3, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Harry and Bernice Stewart Lurie. She is an American novelist and academic. Lurie won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1984 novel Foreign Affairs. She received an A.B. from Radcliffe College in 1947. After finishing college, Lurie show more worked as an editorial assistant for Oxford University Press in New York, but she wanted to make a living as a writer. After years of receiving rejection slips, she devoted herself to raising her children. Lurie had taught at Cornell University since 1968, becoming a full professor in 1976 specializing in folklore and children's literature. Lurie's first novel was "Love and Friendship" (1962) and its characters were modeled on friends and colleagues. Afterwards, she published "The Nowhere City" (1965), "Imaginary Friends" (1967), "The War Between the Tates" (1974), which tells of the collapse of a perfect marriage between a professor and his wife, "Only Children" (1979), and "The Truth About Lorin Jones" (1988). "Foreign Affairs" (1984) won the Pulitzer Prize; it tells the story of two academics in England who learn more about love than academia. Her more recent books include the novels "Women and Ghosts" (1994), and "The Last Resort" (1998), and a work of nonfiction, "Familiar Spirits (2001)." Among her awards and honors, she received honorary degrees from the University of Oxford (2006) and the University of Nottingham (2007). And from 2012-2014, she was the official author of the state of New York. Alison Lurie died on December 3, 2020 in Ithaca, NY at the age of 94. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Alison Lurie portrait session on January 31, 1989 in France

Works by Alison Lurie

Foreign Affairs (1984) 1,469 copies, 35 reviews
The War Between the Tates (1974) 438 copies, 6 reviews
The Truth About Lorin Jones (1988) 400 copies, 6 reviews
The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales (1993) — Editor — 372 copies, 6 reviews
The Last Resort (1998) — Author — 328 copies, 8 reviews
Imaginary Friends (1967) 253 copies, 2 reviews
Truth and Consequences (2005) 245 copies, 6 reviews
The Nowhere City (1965) 232 copies, 4 reviews
Love and Friendship (1962) 212 copies, 2 reviews
The Language of Clothes (1981) 207 copies, 3 reviews
Women and Ghosts (1994) 207 copies, 1 review
Real People (1969) 170 copies, 6 reviews
Only Children (1979) 166 copies, 2 reviews

Associated Works

The Secret Garden (1911) — Contributor, some editions — 36,002 copies, 559 reviews
Peter Pan (1911) — Afterword, some editions — 19,276 copies, 324 reviews
The Violet Fairy Book (1901) — Introduction, some editions — 845 copies, 6 reviews
The Brown Fairy Book (1904) — Introduction, some editions — 833 copies, 2 reviews
Mistresses of the Dark [Anthology] (1998) — Contributor — 123 copies, 4 reviews
The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories (1996) — Contributor — 115 copies
The State of the Language [1990] (1979) — Contributor — 88 copies, 1 review
The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories (1996) — Contributor — 71 copies
Nightshade: 20th Century Ghost Stories (1999) — Contributor — 65 copies, 2 reviews
The Seasons of Women: An Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 46 copies
Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night (1945) — Contributor — 38 copies, 1 review
Night Shadows: Twentieth-Century Stories of the Uncanny (2001) — Contributor — 29 copies
Wonders: Writings and Drawings for the Child in Us All (1980) — Contributor — 19 copies
Good Housekeeping Short Story Collection (1997) — Contributor — 15 copies
Onthebus No. 8 and 9 — Contributor — 6 copies


20th century (44) academia (43) Alison Lurie (22) American (51) American fiction (47) American literature (83) anthology (32) biography (27) books about books (23) children (30) children's (34) children's literature (80) ebook (26) England (39) essays (22) fairy tales (85) fantasy (28) fashion (40) fiction (819) folklore (31) folktales (30) hardcover (21) humor (25) Kindle (26) literary criticism (71) literature (72) London (36) memoir (22) non-fiction (105) novel (145) own (20) Pulitzer (54) Pulitzer Prize (44) read (59) Roman (54) romance (21) short stories (62) to-read (221) unread (40) USA (53)

Common Knowledge



May 2021: Alison Lurie in Monthly Author Reads (May 2021)


first book i read on my ipad. interesting experience in itself. lurie's writing was better than some of the content. she describes both characters and settings very well and uses so many excellent metaphors. i was interested in most of the characters, even ones i hardly cared for. the ending really surprised me, and not to spoil anything, but i was very disappointed in it.
suesbooks | 34 other reviews | Jun 5, 2024 |
For me, this book didn't live up to its title. Sure, it's kind of about "the subversive power of children's literature," but it's actually mostly about the biographies of certain children's authors and how certain children's stories are archetypes for adult literary fiction. And it's not a cohesive book at all. It's a series of essays that were probably originally intended for lit crit mags. When Lurie does address subversiveness, it's usually historical (the book was published in 1990, so I didn't expect nearly every essay to be about Victorian social norms).

I wanted this book to address a subject that really interests me, which is the way some kids books intentionally guide their readers toward a certain way of thinking. I was actually hoping this book would be a better version of my college seminar paper, which was about how Disney movies paved the way for gay rights. Oh well.
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LibrarianDest | 8 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
I read this book two or three years ago and what I remember most vividly about it is that Vinnie is followed around by an imaginary dog that represents her self-image (or something like that).

I'm reading Lorrie Moore's [b:Birds of America|19631|Birds of America Stories|Lorrie Moore|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1223320940s/19631.jpg|1769] right now and so I decided to look up her bio and found out she was taught by Alison Lurie at Cornell. I was like, Where do I know that name? And then I remembered that I read this back when I had this crazy idea that I would read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.… (more)
LibrarianDest | 34 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
Enjoyed this tremendously but perhaps it is because I could so identify with Vinnie and her depressive imaginary dog who slopes around whenever she’s feeling blue.
Poor Vinnie finds happiness but doesn’t appreciate it, and her fellow academic falls terribly in love with an inappropriate target and both of them are so wonderfully good at procrastination very little work gets done at all.
Lovely, well-rounded characters with serious issues but who feel so very familiar I wanted to sit down with them for a brew. Well, Vinnie anyway.
An excellent read for fans of Britain, academe, and the minute but persistent snobberies we all carry about for no known reason.
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Dabble58 | 34 other reviews | Nov 11, 2023 |



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Joseph Jacobs Contributor
Mary De Morgan Contributor
Frances Browne Contributor
Ursula K. Le Guin Contributor
Frank Stockton Contributor
Laurence Housman Contributor
Catherine Sinclair Contributor
Philip K. Dick Contributor
Lucy Lane Clifford Contributor
Naomi Mitchison Contributor
Jeanne Desy Contributor
Walter De la Mare Contributor
Charles Dickens Contributor
John Collier Contributor
Joan Aiken Contributor
Oscar Wilde Contributor
H. G. Wells Contributor
L. Frank Baum Contributor
Jane Yolen Contributor
Tanith Lee Contributor
T. H. White Contributor
George MacDonald Contributor
Louise Erdrich Contributor
Kenneth Grahame Contributor
Angela Carter Contributor
Richard Kennedy Contributor
Lord Dunsany Contributor
Jay Williams Contributor
E. Nesbit Contributor
Donald Barthelme Contributor
John Ruskin Contributor
Howard Pyle Contributor
Bernard Malamud Contributor
James Thurber Contributor
Carl Sandburg Contributor
Monika Beisner Illustrator
Edward Gorey Illustrator
Rui Tenreiro Illustrator
Joyce Crick Translator
Adam Phillips Afterword
Pietari Posti Illustrator
Ramsay Wood Contributor
Otto Bayer Übersetzer
Heleen ten Holt Translator
Fred Marcellino Cover artist
Maxfield Parrish Cover artist
Margot Tomes Illustrator
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