Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert Lowell Coover  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Born: 1932 in Charles City, Iowa

-- Website --
-- Robert Lowell Coover on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

He attended both Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Robert Coover is an award-winning American writer of avant-garde fiction, plays, poetry, and essays whose experimental forms and techniques mix reality and illusion, frequently creating otherworldly or surreal situations and effects. He teaches electronic and experimental writing at Brown University.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

A Political Fable
ISBN: 0670563099

The Viking Press. 1980

This was originally published in the NEW AMERICAN REVIEW in 1968 as a long story entitled, "The Cat in the Hat for President." That was the year that Richard Nixon was first elected president and, according to a grand jury, the police rioted at the Democratic National Convention, where hippies and Yippies were protesting the Vietnam War--then at its height. Coover presents the Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat as the ideal presidential candidate because he can transform himself in an instant, appearing to be one thing before one audience, another before a different audience. The story is a brilliant satire of American politics that culminates in a hallucigenic view of American history that includes much of the sex and violence generally omitted from traditional histories. In the long run, the story celebrates the energy of creation and imagination, which is also the energy of destruction and devastation, that lies at the heart of American culture.

The Origin of the Brunists: A Novel (Norton Paperback Fiction)
ISBN: 0393306003

W W Norton & Co Inc. 1989

The lone survivor of a catastrophic mine explosion announces that the end of the world is at hand and begins a new cult that, sweeping the mining towns, gathers believers in anticipation of the Coming of the End of the World

Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus
ISBN: 0749390077

Vintage/Ebury (A Division of Random House Group). 1989

The Public Burning (Coover, Robert)
ISBN: 0802135277

Grove Press. 1998

A controversial best-seller in 1977, The Public Burning has since emerged as one of the most influential novels of our time. The first major work of contemporary fiction ever to use living historical figures as characters, the novel reimagines the three fateful days in 1953 that culminated with the execution of alleged atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Vice-President Richard Nixon - the voraciously ambitious bad boy of the Eisenhower regime - is the dominant narrator in an enormous cast that includes Betty Crocker, Joe McCarthy, the Marx Brothers, Walter Winchell, Uncle Sam, his adversary The Phantom, and Time magazine incarnated as the National Poet Laureate. All of these and thousands more converge in Times Square for the carnivalesque auto-da-fe at which the Rosenbergs are put to death. And not a person present escapes implication in Cold War America's ruthless "public burning."

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)