World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

David Leavitt

Article Id: WHEBN0001284806
Reproduction Date:

Title: David Leavitt  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The Indian Clerk, The Two Hotel Francforts, Subtropics (journal), Alan Turing, G. H. Hardy
Collection: 1961 Births, 20Th-Century American Novelists, 21St-Century American Novelists, American Male Novelists, American Male Short Story Writers, American Short Story Writers, Gay Writers, Guggenheim Fellows, Jewish American Novelists, Lgbt Jews, Lgbt Novelists, Lgbt People from Florida, Lgbt People from Pennsylvania, Lgbt Writers from the United States, Living People, Male Short Story Writers, Princeton University Faculty, University of Florida Faculty, Writers from Florida, Writers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Yale University Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

David Leavitt

David Leavitt
Born (1961-06-23) June 23, 1961
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation short story writer, novelist, essayist, professor
Nationality American
Literary movement Minimalism, Gay Literature
Notable works Family Dancing, The Lost Language of Cranes, While England Sleeps
Notable awards finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award

David Leavitt (born June 23, 1961) is an American writer of novels, short stories, and non-fiction.


  • Biography 1
  • Controversy 2
  • Adaptations 3
  • Bibliography 4
    • Collections 4.1
    • Novels 4.2
    • Nonfiction 4.3
    • Co-Authored and Edited Collections 4.4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Leavitt is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida. He has also taught at Princeton University.

His published fiction includes the short-story collections Family Dancing (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award), A Place I've Never Been, Arkansas and The Marble Quilt, as well as the novels The Lost Language of Cranes, Equal Affections, While England Sleeps (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize), The Page Turner, Martin Bauman, The Body of Jonah Boyd and The Indian Clerk (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and shortlisted for the IMPAQ Dublin Award). Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work.[1]

At the University of Florida, he is a member of the Creative Writing faculty as well as the founder and editor of the literary journal Subtropics.


In 1993, Leavitt was sued over the publication of his novel While England Sleeps by the English poet Stephen Spender. Spender accused Leavitt of using elements of Spender's memoir World Within World in the novel, and brought suit against Leavitt for copyright infringement.[2] Viking-Penguin, Leavitt's publisher at the time, withdrew the book. In 1995, Houghton Mifflin published a revised version of While England Sleeps with a preface by the author addressing the novel's controversy.

In "Courage in the Telling: The Critical Rise and Fall of David Leavitt," Drew Patrick Shannon argues that the critical backlash that accompanied the Spender incident "allowed [critics] to reinforce the boundaries between gay and mainstream literature that Leavitt had previously crossed".[3] Subsequent reviews of Leavitt's work were more favorable.[4][5]

The Spender episode provided Leavitt with the basis for his novella "The Term-Paper Artist".[6]


Two of Leavitt's novels have been filmed: The Lost Language of Cranes was directed by Nigel Finch and The Page Turner (released under the title Food of Love) was directed by Ventura Pons. The rights to a third, The Indian Clerk, have been optioned by Scott Rudin.



  • Family Dancing (1984)
  • A Place I've Never Been (1990)
  • Arkansas (1997)
  • The Marble Quilt (2001)



  • Florence, A Delicate Case (2003)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer (2006)

Co-Authored and Edited Collections

  • The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories (1993) (editor, with Mark Mitchell)
  • Italian Pleasures (1996) (with Mark Mitchell)
  • Pages Passed from Hand to Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914 (1997) (editor, with Mark Mitchell)
  • In Maremma: Life and a House in Southern Tuscany (2001) (with Mark Mitchell)


  1. ^ Lawson, Don. "Leavitt, David". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Spender, Stephen. "My Life is Mine: Not David Leavitt's". New York Times (New York Times). Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Shannon, Drew Patrick (October 2001). "Courage in the Telling: The Critical Rise and Fall of David Leavitt". International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies 6 (4): 305.  
  4. ^ Taylor, DJ (January 25, 2008). "Adding up to a life". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Freudenberger, Nell (September 16, 2007). "Lust for Numbers". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Bleeth, Kenneth; Julie Rivkin (October 2001). "The 'Imitation David': Plagiarism, Collaboration and the Making of a Gay Literary Tradition in David Leavitt's "The Term-Paper Artist". PMLA. 5 116. 

External links

  • David Leavitt's personal website
  • David Leavitt's website at the University of Florida
  • BBC Radio 4 Interview about The Body of Jonah Boyd
  • Econoculture Interview, February 2 2006 by Paul Morton
  • Recorded keystrokes of Leavitt writing a poem on surprise topic with 15 minute time limit
  • Website for Subtropics Magazine
  • Interview with Identity Theory
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.