James Atlas

marlene lopez

James Atlas is the author of Bellow: A Biography; Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the memoir My Life in the Middle Ages: A Survivor’s Tale. The founder of the Lipper/Viking Penguin Lives series, Atlas was for many years an editor at The New York Times, first at the book review and later at the magazine. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and other journals. His latest work, which combines memoir and an examination of the craft of biography is The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer’s Tale (Pantheon).  The celebrated chronicler literary giants takes us back to his own childhood in suburban Chicago, where he fell in love with literature and, early on, found in himself the impulse to study writers’ lives. And in what amounts to a pocket history of his own literary generation, Atlas celebrates the biographers who hoped to glimpse an image of their subjects “as fleeting as a familiar face swallowed up in a crowd.”