Brinig, Myron

views updated


BRINIG, MYRON (1896–1991), U.S. novelist. Brinig was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Butte, Montana, where many of his most noted works were set. As an adult, Brinig lived in Taos, New Mexico, and New York City, where he died. His painted a grim picture of the life of second-generation American Jews. Largely autobiographical, Singermann (1929) tells the story of a Jewish family in Silver Bow (Brinig's fictitious name for Butte): parental authority collapses and the children drift away, marry non-Jews, and are scattered. This family chronicle was continued in three later novels, This Man Is My Brother (1932), Sons of Singermann (1934), and The First Book of Michael Singermann (1935), but these were less successful. Brinig's other works largely reflect memories of life in the American West or in New York. They include The Sisters (1937), Anne Minton's Life (1939), The Family Way (1942), Footsteps on the Stair (1950), The Sadness in Lexington Avenue (1951), and Looking Glass Heart (1958). The Sisters was turned into a film of the same title in 1938 starring Errol Flynn and Bette Davis. Brinig's fictional protagonist, Harry Singermann, is considered the first significant gay character to appear in American Jewish fiction; Brinig's compassionate and sympathetic characterization avoids the stereotypes of the era. Brinig's papers are housed in the Beinecke Library at Yale University. His letters are described in Yale University Library's "Gay and Lesbian Studies Research Guide" as providing a "detailed account of the life of a gay man in New York."


[Judith R. Baskin (2nd ed.)]