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James Purdy (1914–2009)

Author of Malcolm

93+ Works 2,399 Members 30 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

James Purdy was born in Ohio in 1923. After serving in the Army, he attended the University of Puebla in Mexico before receiving an M.A. in Romance languages at the University of Chicago and spending some time at the University of Madrid. He taught at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin from show more 1949 to 1953. During his lifetime he wrote about 20 novels as well as numerous short stories and plays. Some of his best-known works include the following: Color of Darkness (1957), Malcolm (1959), The Nephew (1960), Cabot Wright Begins (1964), I Am Elijah Thrush (1972), In a Shallow Grave (1976), and Narrow Rooms (1977). He also wrote the Sleepers in Moon-Crowned Valleys trilogy, which comprised of Jeremy's Version (1970), The House of the Solitary Maggot (1974), and Mourners Below (1981). He died on March 13, 2009 at the age of 94. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Library of Congress, Carl van Vechten Collection, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-103693 DLC


Works by James Purdy

Malcolm (1959) 284 copies
In a Shallow Grave (1975) 194 copies
Narrow Rooms (1978) 176 copies
The nephew (1960) 152 copies
Cabot Wright Begins (1964) 124 copies
Garments the Living Wear (1989) 95 copies
I Am Elijah Thrush (1972) 92 copies
Jeremy's Version (1970) 75 copies
Mourners Below (1981) 60 copies
The Candles of Your Eyes (1987) 57 copies
On Glory's Course (1984) 55 copies
Out With the Stars (1992) 55 copies
In the Hollow of His Hand (1985) 43 copies
Children Is All (1971) 39 copies
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three (2018) — Contributor — 28 copies
Malcolm (1966) 23 copies
Color of darkness ; Malcolm (1974) 20 copies
James Purdy: Selected Plays (2009) 13 copies
Two Plays (1979) 7 copies
Der Gesang des Blutes (1995) 4 copies
Sleep Tight (1979) 3 copies
Enge Räume (1989) 3 copies
Lessons and Complaints (1978) 2 copies
The Running Sun (1971) 2 copies
Kitty Blue (1993) 2 copies
Heatstroke 2 copies
Cambres estretes (1988) 2 copies
Il nipote The Nephew (1963) 1 copy
SATYRE (LE) (1970) 1 copy
The lesson 1 copy
Malcoll 1 copy
Dream Palace 1 copy

Associated Works

The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction (1992) — Contributor — 318 copies
The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories (1994) — Contributor — 308 copies
Men on Men 2: Best New Gay Fiction (1988) — Contributor — 203 copies
The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature (1998) — Contributor — 157 copies
Men on Men 6: Best New Gay Fiction (1996) — Contributor — 125 copies
First Love/Last Love (1985) — Contributor — 85 copies
On the Line: New Gay Fiction (1981) — Contributor — 81 copies
Granta 1: New American Writing (1979) — Contributor — 44 copies
Mothers and Daughters: An Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 32 copies
Studies in Fiction (1965) — Contributor — 22 copies
Wonders: Writings and Drawings for the Child in Us All (1980) — Contributor — 18 copies
Family: Stories from the Interior (1987) — Contributor — 16 copies
Twenty-Nine Stories (1960) — Contributor — 13 copies
New World Writing 17 (1960) — Contributor — 4 copies
Moderne Amerikaanse verhalen — Contributor — 3 copies
New Directions in Prose and Poetry 35 (1977) — Contributor — 3 copies
Juvenile Delinquency in Literature (1980) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



From the pen of Edward Albee comes an adaptation of one of my favorite novels by James Purdy. Albee captures the atmosphere and the characters in this less-well-known play. I always enjoy reading the work of both of these authors.
jwhenderson | Jun 13, 2023 |
Malcolm is a young man who appears on a bench outside a hotel where he’s staying in New York City. Professor Cox, the leading astrologer of his time, seems to feel this state of affairs is wrong. A teenager with no apparent history, no goals, no friends – who claims to be waiting for his father – shouldn’t be spending his days on a bench. Professor Cox provides Malcolm with “addresses” of people in the city to get him off the bench.

Malcolm meets with the various eccentric acquaintances of the Professor, all of whom are smitten with the young man and want to keep him for themselves. His beauty, innocence and lack of guile endear him to almost everyone. He becomes involved in their silly doings – and is sometimes the cause. Eventually things turn dark for Malcolm and his innocence is incrementally lost. This is a humorous and sad book, touching and filled with absurdity.… (more)
Hagelstein | 5 other reviews | Mar 7, 2023 |
This is an idiosyncratic and flamboyant tale of pre-Stonewall bohemian New York City. I delighted in the diverse characters that could only have come from the pen of the author of Malcolm and Eustace Chisholm.
jwhenderson | Oct 4, 2022 |
Stories of the absurd in the sense that all human life and relationships contain a bit, or more, of the absurd. These are dark stories that often surprise the reader with misdirection and a sort of misanthropy.
jwhenderson | Feb 22, 2022 |



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Ryan Cagle Editor
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Ethel Lina White Contributor
Robert Westall Contributor
Steve Rasnic Tem Contributor
Forrest Reid Contributor
Simon Raven Contributor
J. B. Priestley Contributor
Elizabeth Jenkins Contributor
Helen Mathers Contributor
Eric C. Higgs Contributor
Ernest G. Henham Contributor
L. P. Hartley Contributor
Hugh Fleetwood Contributor
John Keir Cross Contributor
R. Chetwynd-Hayes Contributor
Charles Beaumont Contributor
Richard M. Powers Cover artist
Christopher Ridley Cover photograph
Katja Vranken Translator


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½ 3.7

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