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Grace Paley (Grace Goodside Paley) Biography

(1922–2007), (Grace Goodside Paley), Esquire, Atlantic, New American Review, The Little Disturbances of Man

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American short-story writer and poet, born of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in the Bronx, New York City, educated at Hunter College and New York University. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She is widely regarded as a quintessentially New York writer, the city's environment and its rich variety of spoken idioms being integral to her work. Her stories began to appear in Esquire, Atlantic, and the New American Review in the mid-1950s. The Little Disturbances of Man (1959), her first collection, established her typifying mode in its moving reflections of lives of paradigmatic ordinariness. Much of her writing displays remarkable concentration, some of her stories being equivalent to prose poems in their brevity and imaginative impact. Stylistic developments towards more impressionistic narrative structures were evident in her second book, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974); a prominent pacifist since the time of the Vietnam War, her dissenting politics were discernible in the feminist and pacifist perspectives in some of the stories. A further collection, Later the Same Day (1985), contains some of the finest examples of her characteristic fusions of comic and elegiac tones. Although she had published little poetry for many years, New and Collected Poems (1992) presents work she had accumulated since the early 1950s, which has thematic similarities with her fiction.

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