Dahlberg, Edward

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American poet, novelist, and critic

Dahlberg was the son of a married hairdresser who had been kicked out of the house before he was born by her husband for being unfaithful. He and his older brother were sent to a Jewish orphanage, but he absconded. His experiences there influenced his writing and provided the setting for Bottom Dogs (1930).

After leaving the orphanage he held a succession of unskilled jobs in various parts of the country, spent time in the Army, and graduated from Columbia University. In the 1930s he became involved in the Communist Party and was jailed for this, but he renounced communism in 1936. Other books include Do These Bones Live?, Because I Was Flesh, Those Who Perish and Cipango's Hinder Door.


DeFanti, Charles. The Wages of Expectation: A Biography of Edward Dahlberg. (New York: New York University Press, 1978)
Dahlberg, Edward. Because I Was Flesh: The Autobiography of Edward Dahlberg. (New York: New Directions, 1964)
Jones, Bonesy. "The Subculture Pages: Edward Dahlberg: Biographical Notes." Available at: http://www.fringeware.com/subcult/Edward_Dahlberg.html


20th Century
Exile or Persecution (religious, Political or Social)
Multiple or Unspecified
Homelessness, Drifting
Birth or Infancy
Parental Relationship Breakdown, Divorce
Unmarried Mother, Single Parent (Mother or Father) Unable to Cope
Mother Married, but Not to Father
Institutional Care
Child Left Care While Still a Child, but With New Parents' Blessing
Mother Married but Not to Birth Father
Birth Siblings Placed Together
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