Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Writer > C > John Cheever

Profile of John Cheever on Famous Like Me

Name: John Cheever  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 27th May 1912
Place of Birth: Quincy, Massachusetts, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

John Cheever (May 27, 1912–June 18, 1982) was a American novelist and short story writer, sometimes called "the Chekhov of the suburbs." His The Stories of John Cheever won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1979. John Cheever was born in Quincy, Massachussetts. His father owned a shoe factory and was relatively wealthy until he lost his business in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and deserted his family. The young Cheever was deeply upset by the breakdown of his parents' relationship. His formal education ended when he was seventeen and left home. Cheever studied at that time at Thayer Academy, but was expelled for smoking. The experience was the nucleus of his first published story, 'Expelled' (1930), which Malcolm Cowley bought for The New Republic. Cheever went to live with his brother in Boston. He wrote synopses for MGM and sold stories to various magazines. After a journey in Europe, Cheever returned to the US. He settled in New York and became friends with such writers as John Dos Passos, Edward Estlin Cummings, James Agee, and James Farrell. In 1933 he attended the Yaddo writers' colony in Saratoga Springs.

His most significant works include the Wapshot books. The Wapshot Chronicle won the National Book Award in 1958) and the collection The Stories of John Cheever won the Pulitzer Prize. He was a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and was considered one of the purest examples of "the New Yorker writer". Cheever's main theme was the spiritual and emotional emptiness of life. He especially described the manners and morals of middle-class, suburban America, with an ironic humour which softened his basically dark vision. A number of Cheever's early works were published in The New Republic, Collier's Weekly, and The Atlantic. In 1935 he began a lifelong assocation with The New Yorker. He married Mary Winternitz in 1941, and two years later, published his first book, The Way Some People Live. Its stories had originally appeared in magazines and depicted the life of Upper-Eastside and suburban residents or dealt with Cheever's own experiences as a recruit. He had served during World War II as an infantry gunner and member of the Signal Corps.

After the war he worked as a teacher and wrote scripts for television. In 1951 Cheever received a Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed him to become a full-time writer. His second collection, The Enormous Radio And Other Stories, was published in 1953. In the mid-1950s Cheever began writing novels. The Wapshot Chronicle (1957) was an autobiographical story based on his mother's and father's relationship, his family's genteel decline, and own life. The book won the National Book Award in 1958. In the 1960s Cheever worked briefly as a Hollywood scripwriter on a film version of D.H. Lawrence's The Lost Girl, published in 1920. From 1956 to 1957 Cheever taught writing at Barnard College - a work he never liked much. However, he was teacher at the University of Iowa and at Sing Sing prison in the early 1970s, and Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Boston University (1974-75). The Stories Of John Cheever (1978) won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and an American Book Award. Cheever died in 1982, at the age of 70, in Ossinning, New York. In 1987, his widow, Mary, signed a contract with a small publisher, Academy Chicago, for the right to publish Cheever's uncollected short stories. The contract led to a long legal battle, and a book of 13 stories by the author, published in 1994. Two of Cheever's children, Susan and Benjamin, become novelists. Cheever's posthumously published letters and journals revealed his guilt-ridden bisexuality.

Cheever claimed in his diaries to have been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) by a marriage counselor that his wife forced him to see. He was also an alcoholic. Cheever's real-life bisexuality was referenced in an episode of Seinfeld, "The Cheever Letters", in which correspondence from Cheever is discovered, revealing Cheever had an affair with the fictional character of Susan Ross' father.


  • The Way Some People Live: A Book of Short Stories (1943)
  • The Enormous Radio and Other Stories (1953)
  • The Day the Pig Fell Into the Well (1954)
  • Stories (1956)
  • The Wapshot Chronicle (1957)
  • The Housebreaker at Shady Hill and Other Stories (1958)
  • Some People, Places and Things That Will Not Appear In My Next Novel (1961)
  • The Wapshot Scandal (1964)
  • The Brigadier and the Golf Widow (1964) - includes 'The Swimmer'
  • Homage to Shakespeare (1965)
  • Bullet Park (1969)
  • The World of Apples (1973)
  • Falconer (1977)
  • The Stories of John Cheever (1978)
  • The Leaves, the Lionfish and the Bear (1980)
  • Oh, What a Paradise It Seems (1982)

External Links

  • Biography
  • Benjamin Cheever talks about his father, John Cheever, in this 1992 audio interview, RealAudio
  • Susan Cheever talks about her father, John Cheever, in these audio interviews (1984, 1985, 1991), RealAudio
  • John Cheever: Parody and The Suburban Aesthetic by John Dyer
  • Review of The Stories Of John Cheever

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article John Cheever