Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James Purdy  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1914 in Hicksville, OH

Died: 2009 in Englewood, NJ

-- James Purdy on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Purdy attended the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Born in Hicksville, Ohio, James Purdy was raised in Findlay, Ohio. His family moved there when he was about five years old. He attended Bowling Green State College (now Bowling Green State University), the University of Chicago and the University of Puebla in Mexico.While he was a gay man, Purdy consistently rejected identity politics and defining oneself according to one's sexuality.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

On Glory's Course (Contemporary American Fiction)
ISBN: 0140076298

Penguin Books. 1985

Although it took place thirty years in the past, Adele Bevington cannot forget the affair she had with a Chicago businessman nor the infant son she had to give up for adoption

63: Dream Palace, Selected Stories, 1956-1987
ISBN: 0876858442

Black Sparrow Press. 1991

First edition. Printed by Graham Mackintosh & Edwards Brothers Inc. and designed by Barbara Martin. James Purdy is a prolific author and this volume, originally published in England in 1957, received great critical acclaim. 352, 4 pages. stiff paper wrappers.. 8vo..

Eustace Chisholm and the Works
ISBN: 0786715022

Carroll & Graf. 2004

A literary cult hero of major proportions, James Purdy’s exquisitely surreal fiction—Tennessee Williams meets William S. Burroughs—has been populated for more than forty years by social outcasts living in crisis and longing for love. His acclaimed first novel, Malcolm (1959), won praise from writers as diverse as Dame Edith Sitwell, Dorothy Parker, and Gore Vidal, while his later works, from the award-winning In a Shallow Grave (1976) to Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue (1998), influenced new generations of authors. Eustace Chisholm and the Works, a 1967 novel that became a gay classic, is an especially outspoken book among the author’s controversial body of work. Purdy recalls that Eustace Chisholm and the Works—named one of the Publishing Triangle’s 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Novels of the 20th Century—outraged the New York literary establishment. More than breaking out of the pre-Stonewall closet, however, the book liberated its author and readers can be grateful for that.

Color of Darkness: Eleven Stories and a Novella
ISBN: 0837178746

Greenwood. 1975

Book by Anon

Narrow Rooms (Gay Modern Classics Series)
ISBN: 0907040578

Heretic Books. 1985

Sidney De Lakes returns from prison after srving a four-year term for manslaughter and confesses to his younger brother the homosexuality that led him to the crime

I Am Elijah Thrush (American Crisis)
ISBN: 0854490124

Heretic Books. 1986

Book by Purdy, James

Moe's Villa and Other Stories
ISBN: 0786714174

Carroll & Graf. 2004

A literary cult hero, James Purdy’s exquisitely surreal fiction has been populated for more than 40 years by social outcasts living in crisis and longing for love. His acclaimed first novel Malcolm (1959) won praise from writers as diverse as Dame Edith Sitwell, Dorothy Parker, Marianne Moore, and Gore Vidal, while his later books, from the award-winning Eustace Chisholm and the Works (1967) to In a Shallow Grave (1976), and Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue (1998) influenced new generations of authors from Dennis Cooper to Paul Russell. Moe’s Villa and Other Stories, Purdy’s first short-story collection in over a decade, showcases twelve new stories

from fairy tales about an opera diva whose mega-stardom is managed shrewdly by her talking cat to the little girl who runs off with a fire-breathing dragon to eat turtle soup

from a bizarre account of a desperate husband whose obsession over his wayward ex-wife leads to his fixation on a rare white dove to a visit to Moe’s Villa, a private mansion doubling as a gambling casino where lonely boys are taught the art of poker by the Native American proprietor, Purdy takes his well-deserved place in the tradition of the finest American storytellers.

The Candles of Your Eyes
ISBN: 0872862569

City Lights Publishers. 1991

first paperback edition of Purdy's recent stories

In a Shallow Grave
ISBN: 0872862348

City Lights Publishers. 2001

A marvelous tour de force [about war and reconciliation] that engages as it entertains . . . very impressive.-Publishers Weekly

Garments the Living Wear (Note Series; 143)
ISBN: 0872862399

City Lights Publishers. 2001

James Purdy’s new novel, Garments the Living Wear, is a vision of evil and dark salvation peopled with bizarre and memorable characters. Satirizing life in New York City in the 1980s, its themes include the scourge of AIDS, criminal conspiracies, the excesses of the superrich, modern evangelism, and love in its many forms.