on September 3, 1926, Alison Lurie is an American writer and scholar best
known for her novels, which have often been described as social satire.
She has also published a collection of ghost stories, Women and Ghosts
(1994), a book on the psychology of fashion, The Language of Clothes
(1981), and a collection of essays on children's literature and folklore,
Don't Tell the Grownups (1990).
Her first novel, Love and Friendship (1962), is set
in the imaginary New England college town of Converse and describes an
unexpected love affair. The Nowhere City (1965) takes place in
Los Angeles, where Alison Lurie and her family lived from 1957 to 1961.
Its characters include a film starlet, a psychiatrist, and other assorted
local eccentrics. The War Between the Tates (1974) is set in Corinth
University, which has been said to have some similarities to Cornell, and
its main characters are a professor who becomes involved with a graduate
student, and his distressed wife. It later became an NBC television
film starring Elizabeth Ashley and Richard Crenna.
Real People (1969) and Imaginary Friends (1967) also take
place in upstate New York: the first in an artists' colony and the second in
a small town where a group of characters believe themselves to be in touch
with flying saucers. (This novel was made into a Thames television
series in 1987.) Only Children (1979), the story of a
disastrous weekend houseparty, is also set in rural New York state but in
1970, Alison Lurie has spent part of the winter in Key West, Florida, which
is the setting for much of The Truth About Lorin Jones (1989).
She also visits Britain once a year. Foreign Affairs (1984),
which won the Pulitzer Prize, takes place in London and relates the
adventures of two American academics abroad. It was made into a film
for television with Joanne Woodward and Brian Denehey. The Truth
About Lorin Jones (1989), follows the adventures of a biographer who is
researching the life of a famous woman painter. It won the Prix Femina
Etranger in France.
addition, Lurie authored three collections of traditional folktales for
children and was coeditor of the 73-volume Garland Library of Children's
Classics. Since 1970, she has taught literature, folklore, and writing
at Cornell University. She is married to writer Edward Hower and
has three grown sons and three grandchildren. Her hobbies include
gardening, needlepoint, and collecting contemporary folklore and
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