Writer, born in Lachine, Quebec, Canada. The son of immigrant Russian Jews, in 1924 he moved with his family to Chicago, the city with which he became most closely identified. He studied anthropology and sociology at Northwestern University and for most of his life taught intellectual history in universities, including Minnesota (1946–9) and Chicago (1963). During World War 2 he served in the merchant marine. His first novel, Dangling Man (1944), was followed by a steady output of major fiction, including the novels The Adventures of Augie March (1953, National Book Award), Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1963, National Book Award), Mr Sammler's Planet (1969, National Book Award), and Humboldt's Gift (1975, Pulitzer). This work, much of which treated with compassion and wit the spiritual crisis of Modernism while drawing on his own feelings of alienation from contemporary society, established him as America's most distinguished post-war writer of fiction. His later work included the novels The Dean's December (1982) and More Die of Heartbreak (1987), the collected stories Him With His Foot in His Mouth (1984) and The Bellarosa Connection (1989), and the play The Last Analysis (1965). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976.
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