Gordon, Lois 1938- (Lois G. Gordon)

views updated

Gordon, Lois 1938- (Lois G. Gordon)


Born 1938, in Englewood, NJ; daughter of Irving David and Betty Goldfein; married Alan Lee Gordon (a psychiatrist), November 13, 1961; children: Robert Michael. Education: University of Michigan, B.A. (with honors), 1960; University of Wisconsin, M.A., 1962, Ph.D., 1966. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Piano, politics.


Home—New York, NY. Office—Department of English, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ 07666. E-mail—[email protected]


City College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, lecturer in English, 1964-66; University of Missouri—Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, assistant professor of English, 1966-68; Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ, assistant professor, 1968-71, associate professor, 1971-75, professor of English, 1975—, chair of Department of English and Comparative Literature, 1982-90, University distinguished professor, 2007—. Rutgers University, visiting exchange professor, 1994.


International Bach Society, International League for Human Rights, Modern Language Association of America, U.S. Historical Landmarks Commission, Academy of American Poets, PEN, Harold Pinter Society, Southern Poverty Law Center, Samuel Beckett Society, Authors Guild.


Stratagems to Uncover Nakedness: The Dramas of Harold Pinter, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 1969.

Donald Barthelme, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1981.

Robert Coover: The Universal Fictionmaking Process, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1983.

American Chronicle: Six Decades in American Life, 1920-1980, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987, expanded as American Chronicle: Seven Decades in American Life, 1920-1990, Crown (New York, NY), 1990.

Harold Pinter: A Casebook, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1990.

The Columbia Chronicles of American Life, 1910-1992, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Columbia World of Quotations, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1996, Chinese translation, Dunhuang Literature and Publishing House (Gansu Province, China), 2000.

(With Alan Gordon) American Chronicle: Year by Year through the Twentieth Century, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999.

Pinter at Seventy, Routledge (New York, NY), 2001.

Reading Godot, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2002.

Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Contemporary Writers: Novelists, Reference Guide to American Literature, Encyclopedia of World Authors, and Great Writers of the English Language.

Contributor to periodicals, including Literary Annual, New England Review, New Letters, Modern Drama, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Kansas Quart. Contributor to literature journals including, Literature and Psychology and Journal of Modern Literature.

Narrator of audio cassettes, including Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.


The Columbia World of Quotations has been adapted into CD-ROM.


An expert on twentieth-century American culture and modern literature, Lois Gordon has a particular interest in theater and literature and has written several well-known biographies of writers in these two art forms, including Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, and Nancy Cunard.

The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946 is a comprehensive biography of the playwright during those years. Gordon delves inside the personal life of a man who preferred to keep his private life just that. She discusses early influences, his family, and the appropriate historical background to put his life in context. From there, Gordon discusses Beckett's departure from his home in Ireland, his time spent in Paris and the other writers he met, and his travels between England and France. When she concentrates on his courageous, decorated Resistance and maquis activities during World War II, she transforms Beckett scholarship. John Simon, writing in New York Magazine called the book "revelatory" and "an exemplary glimpse of a literary enigma."

Reading Godot offers readers a fresh look at the Beckett play Waiting for Godot, addressing it from a psychological perspective. The author provides some background on Beckett and examines the play from a performance perspective, utilizing notes left from various stagings. Deborah Weagel, in a review for the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Web site, called Gordon's work an "insightful and well-written book."

Gordon also wrote Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist, a biography recounting how Cunard led a life that surpasses Hollywood fantasy. Heir to the Cunard shipping fortune, Nancy Cunard abandoned the world of a celebrated socialite and Jazz Age icon to pursue a lifelong battle against social injustice as a wartime journalist, humanitarian aid worker, and civil rights champion. She fought fascism on the battlefields of Spain and reported firsthand on the atrocities of the French concentration camps. Intelligent and beautiful, she romanced the great writers of her era, including three Nobel Prize winners, and was the inspiration for characters in the works of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, Pablo Neruda, Samuel Beckett, and Ernest Hemingway, among others. Cunard was also a prolific poet, publisher, and translator and, after falling in love with an African-American jazz pianist, became deeply committed to fighting for black rights. Cunard edited the controversial anthology Negro, the first comprehensive study of the achievement and plight of blacks around the world.



Economist, May 18, 1996, review of The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946, p. 15.

Kirkus, January 15, 1996, review of The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946.

New York Magazine, August 19, 1996, John Simon, review of The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946, p. 50.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 1996, review of The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946; January 22, 2007, review of Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist, p. 172.

Theatre Research International, summer, 1997, Felicia Hardison Londre, review of The World of Samuel Beckett, 1906-1946.


Daily News,http://www.nydailynews.com/ (April 29, 2007), review of Nancy Cunard.

New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (February 7, 2008), Caroline Weber, review of Nancy Cunard.

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association,http://rmmla.wsu.edu/ (December 10, 2007), Deborah Weagel, review of Reading Godot.

About this article

Gordon, Lois 1938- (Lois G. Gordon)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article