Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harold Brodkey  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: October 25, 1930 in Staunton, Illinois

-- Wikipedia --
-- Harold Brodkey on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Brodkey was born in Staunton, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Brodkey was an American author. He was a staff writer for ''The New Yorker''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

First Love and Other Sorrows: Stories
ISBN: 0805060103

Holt Paperbacks. 1998

Harold Brodkey's masterful first volume of short fiction, with two never-before anthologized stories.

When originally published in 1958, First Love and Other Sorrows won Harold Brodkey widespread acclaim and announced a brilliant new arrival on the literary scene. Brodkey was hailed as an "unusually gifted writer" (The Atlantic) and a "rich talent" (San Francisco Chronicle), whose stories read like "murmured confidences, highly personal yet carefully contrived" (Chicago Tribune). In First Love and Other Sorrows, the young Brodkey chronicles the world of the educated and affluent middle class of the 1950s, at leisure and in love. He establishes the themes that would appear throughout his career--the painful uncertainties of childhood, the halting intimacies of social life--with rare terness, humor, and haunting insight. Two new stories, never before collected, from Brodkey's early writings join the original volume to complete a much-loved classic.

Women and Angels (Author's Workshop)
ISBN: 0827602502

The Jewish Publication Society. 1985

A Philip and Muriel Berman Edition

Brodkey’s masterful stories explore the sources within his upbringing, including a non-Jewish education, that led him to seek the authentic voice that emerges in these pages.

Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
ISBN: 0679724311

Vintage. 1989

These 17 short stories represent the best of Brodkey's work over three decades.

The Runaway Soul
ISBN: 0374252866

Farrar Straus & Giroux. 1991

Adopted as a child in 1930, Wiley Silenowicz is raised in the St. Louis home of his cousins, S.L. and Lila Silenowicz, and their daughter, Nonie, in a coming-of-age story that follows Wiley from childhood to adulthood

Profane Friendship: A Novel
ISBN: 0374529736

Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2004

In Profane Friendship, Harold Brodkey tells an odd and strangely beautiful Venetian love story, sounding its depths with the suppleness and virtuosity of style that in recent years have won him worldwide admiration as a uniquely gifted American writer. Growing up in Venice in the 1930s, Niles O'Hara, the son of an expatriate American novelist, loves a Venetian boy named Giangiacomo Gallieni, fondly known as Onni. After the Second World War, Niles and his mother return to Venice, and he becomes involved in a complex on-again, off-again affair with his childhood friend, now an adolescent with a wartime history of sexual trespass. Profane Friendship is a remarkable depiction of an intense and enduring relationship conducted in the triumphantly alluring setting of the world's most beautiful city. Searching, comic, romantic, and ironic. Harold Brodkey's novel is at once the most sumptuous modern evocation of Venice and a truly singular exploration of human emotion and passion.

Growing up in Venice in the 1930s, Niles O'Hara, the son of an expatriate writer, befriends a Venetian boy. After the war, Niles and his family return, and he becomes involved in a kind of semi-affair with his childhood friend, who is now an adolescent with a wartime history of sexual trespass.

This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death
ISBN: 0805048316

Henry Holt & Co. 1996

A noted author and novelist presents a selection of essays and journals that explore his sexuality, relationships, and the advance and effect of the AIDS virus within him from which he eventually died. 50,000 first printing.

The World Is the Home of Love and Death
ISBN: 0805059997

Picador. 1998

With The World Is the Home of Love and Death, Harold Brodkey completes the extraordinary literary voyage that began with the publication of his first short story in The New Yorker in 1952. During the past four decades, Brodkey established himself as a modern master of short fiction. In The World Is the Home of Love and Death, Brodkey returns to themes he has treated so memorably in the past--the conformity and stupefying monotony of suburbia, the malevolence of cocktail-party conversation--bringing to them a new refinement and compression. In all of these stories, Brodkey proves that there has never been a more acute translator of the language of power, coercion, and, ultimately, love. It is altogether appropriate that Brodkey's final return to fiction should be to the short story, a form that he has influenced so profoundly.

My Venice
ISBN: 0805048332

Metropolitan Books. 1998

Harold Brodkey's haunting, lyrical portrait of his most beloved city.

Venice is a separate country," Harold Brodkey wrote of the fabled city that became his literary muse. "It floats at anchor inside its own will, among its domes and campanili, independent and exotic at its heart."The author's love of Venice--its churches and vaporetti, its capacity to bewilder and seduce--brought him back time and again to the shores of the Adriatic in search of fresh inspiration. Brodkey's Venice is marked by powerful contrasts: pride beside humility, the sacred alongside the profane, solemn tradition coexisting with exuberant mercantile optimism. Illustrated with eleven stunning black-and-white portraits by the legary Italian photographer Giuseppe Bruno, My Venice combines passages from several of Brodkey's great works with previously unpublished notes and essays to create a text as rich, subtle, and beguiling as the city itself.

Sea Battles on Dry Land: Essays
ISBN: 0805060529

Metropolitan Books. 1999

A brilliant, provocative collection of essays, profiles, and criticism, from one of the great literary figures of our time.

Renowned worldwide for his fiction, Harold Brodkey may actually be better known among American readers for his work as an essayist. By turns witty and contemplative, sympathetic and scathing, Brodkey's essays, many of which first appeared in The New Yorker, treat a remarkably broad range of subjects. Whether writing on the New York City subway or country gardens, on presidential politics or haute couture, on Woody Allen or Walter Winchell, Brodkey was a master of the subtle and unexpected observation. Sea Battles on Dry Land gathers the best of Brodkey's essays into a single volume-among them lighthearted "Talk of the Town" pieces, the prophetic "Notes on American Fascism," and a profile of Frank O'Hara, one of the most eloquent portraits of a legary American writer. Gifted with a capacious and searching intelligence, Brodkey was equally skilled at writing film reviews, celebrity profiles, and erudite discourses on the nature of fiction.

Sea Battles on Dry Land provides some of the finest critical writing of our era and will remain an essential collection for many years to come.