Borowitz, Albert 1930–
Borowitz, Albert 1930–
(Albert Ira Borowitz)
PERSONAL: Born June 27, 1930, in Chicago, IL; son of David (a business executive and book collector) and Anne (Wolkenstein) Borowitz; married Helen Osterman (an art historian), July 29, 1950; children: Peter Leonard, Joan, Andrew Seth. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1951, M.A., 1953, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1956.
ADDRESSES: Home—2561 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights, OH 44120. Office—Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, North Point, 901 East Lakeside Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114. Agent—Author Mail, 307 Lowry Hall, P.O. 5190, Kent, OH 44242.
CAREER: Admitted to bar of Ohio, 1957. Hahn, Loeser, Freedheim, Dean & Wellman, Cleveland, OH, associate, 1956–62, partner, 1956–83; Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, Cleveland, partner, 1983–90, of counsel, 1991–94, consultant to the firm, 1995–2000. Honorary consul of France in Cleveland, 1990–95; vice-president, French-American Chamber of Commerce of Northern Ohio, 1993–99.
MEMBER: American Bar Association, American Law Institute, Great Lakes Theatre Festival (former vice-president), Ohio State Bar Association, Bar Associa-tion of Greater Cleveland (member of board of directors, 1976–79), Friends of the Cleveland Public Library (former member of board of trustees), Union Club, Harvard Club (New York, NY), Vidocq Society (Philadelphia, PA), Rowfant Club.
AWARDS, HONORS: Cleveland arts prize for literature, 1981; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for best factual crime book, Mystery Writers of America, 2003, for Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature.
Fiction in Communist China, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1954.
Innocence and Arsenic: Studies in Crime and Literature (essays), Harper (New York, NY), 1977.
The Woman Who Murdered Black Satin: The Bermondsey Horror, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH), 1981.
A Gallery of Sinister Perspectives: Ten Crimes and a Scandal (essays), Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1982.
The Thurtell-Hunt Murder Case: Dark Mirror to Regency England, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1987.
Eternal Suspect: The Tragedy of Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin, Kent State University Libraries (Kent, OH), 1990.
(With Helen Borowitz) Pawnshop and Palaces: The Fall and Rise of the Campana Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, DC), 1991.
Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue: The First Century, Jones Day (Cleveland, OH), 1993.
Unhappy Endings (essays), Rowfant Club (Cleveland, OH), 2001.
Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 2002.
Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 2005.
Author's work was anthologized in Legal Studies Forum volume 29, Crimes Gone By: Essays of Albert Borowitz, 2005.
The Jack the Ripper Walking Tour Murder, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1986.
This Club Frowns on Murder, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1990.
Also author of two e-books: Death Play and The Beautiful Red Danube. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Opera News, American Scholar, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Cleveland Magazine, and American Bar Association Journal.
SIDELIGHTS: Albert Borowitz has written numerous books on crime, both fiction and nonfiction. In Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature, he compiled a massive bibliography of accounts of actual crimes and literary works based on real crimes. Peter Dollard, a reviewer for the Library Journal, called this book a "unique" and "very successful" work. In 2005, Borowitz published Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome, in which he combed through history for examples of terrorist acts committed for personal glory. Herostratos was an arsonist who caused the destruction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Borowitz's analysis takes him into the twentieth century, and he links crimes such as the murder of former Beatle John Lennon and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center to Herostratos's destructive act. "This is an intriguing book about the social and psychological roots of violence," commented R.H. Dekmejian in a Choice review.
In the preface to his collection of essays on crime, Innocence and Arsenic: Studies in Crime and Literature, Borowitz wrote: "I am drawn to works based on actual criminal experience because of the intriguing ambiguity of real crimes. There is uncertainty often as to guilt or innocence, and uncertainty oftener as to the motivations of the criminal and other participants in the drama. The appeal of such literature seems to me to be just the opposite of that of the classic detective story, where all doubts and suspense are finally resolved by the ingenious detective and the evil are firmly separated from the innocent. The ambiguity of historical crime is closer to the state of constant suspense in which we live. In the detective novel the puzzle is solved at the end, but in the study of crime, as in life, the puzzle goes on forever. In the title of my collection, I adopt a famous phrase from the work of the great nineteenth-century Swedish novelist C.J.L. Almqvist. The full quotation is: 'Two things are white: innocence and arsenic.' There can be no better statement of the ambiguity of criminal conduct, or any other human conduct, for that matter."
Borowitz told CA: "My passion for writing, and for crime writing in particular, goes back to my childhood when I collected mysteries with my father, David, a famous bibliophile, and wrote two crime plays in junior high school. My work is influenced by three true-crime essayists of an earlier generation: William Roughead, F. Tennyson Jesse, and Edmund Pearson. My writing process benefits from experience as a lawyer working under constant time constraints; the most important lesson I have learned is to disbelieve in the existence of writer's block. Blood and Ink, a guide to fact-based crime literature, is probably my personal favorite among my works since it helps define the literary category to which I have devoted four decades of literary explorations."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Borowitz, Albert, Innocence and Arsenic: Studies in Crime and Literature, Harper (New York, NY), 1977.
Choice, September, 2005, R.H. Dekmejian, review of Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome, p. 188.
Journal of American Culture, June, 2003, Pat Browne, review of Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature, p. 288.
Library Journal, May 15, 2002, Peter Dollard, review of Blood and Ink, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, January 5, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of This Club Frowns on Murder, p. 65.
Tarlton Law Library Legal Studies Forum, Volume 29, number 2, 2005, James R. Elkins, interview with Albert Borowitz.
Times Literary Supplement, November 20, 1981.