Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in New York City, New York, West flunked Tufts University in 1921 and received an advanced degree from Brown in 1924. He spent the winter of 1925/26 in Paris writing The Dream Life of Balso Snell , his first novel, which was published in 1931. When he returned to the United States, he legally changed his name. He managed cheap New York hotels for his father until 1933, when he published what would become his best-known novel, Miss Lonelyhearts. In 1935 he went to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. His last novel was The Day of the Locust, published in 1939, the year before his death in an automobile accident, reportedly on the way to F. Scott Fitzgerald's funeral. He is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, New York.
West was an innovative writer with a considerable influence on subsequent generations. His novels revealed the grotesqueness and sterility of the American Dream, especially its materialistic side. He was ostensibly surrealist in his outlook, as well. He never rose to any heights of fame while alive, but his popularity rose after his premature death.
- The Dream Life of Balso Snell (1931)
- Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)
- A Cool Million (1934)
- The Day of the Locust (1939)
- Good Hunting
- Books and Writers: Nathanael West (1903-1940)
- Literary Traveler: The California Dreams of Nathanael West
- Nathanael West and the American Apocalyptic
- Nathanael West's Centennial
- Martin, Jay, Nathanael West: The Art of His Life, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970.
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