September 25, 1997 (Thursday) at 8:00 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
University at Albany, Downtown Campus
(Note: There will not be an afternoon seminar)
Steven Millhauser, novelist and short story writer, won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for his most recent novel Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (1996) which chronicles the life of an entrepreneur whose career peaks when he builds a fabulous hotel in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. Time Magazine described Martin Dressler as "an urban fable about civilization and its disconents," and praised Millhauser for "lowering the barrier between realism and myth."
Millhauser impressed both critics and readers with his fresh approach to childhood and adolescence in his first two novels, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954, by Jeffrey Cartwright (1972) which won the Prix Médicis Étranger Award in France for the best foreign novel, and Portrait of a Romantic (1977). In a Washington Post review of Portrait of a Romantic, William Kennedy described the book as "written in immaculate prose. . .a prodigious feat of memory, with an enormous density of felt and observed life."
In addition, Millhauser has published a fourth novel, From the Realm of Morpheus (1986), and three collections of short stories, The Barnum Museum (1990), In the Penny Arcade (1986), and Little Kingdoms (1993).
Millhauser received the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction in 1994 and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1987. He is a Professor of English at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.
"A chronicle of obsession, self-indulgence, and, in a curious way, moral growth, expertly poised between realistic narrative and allegorical fable. . .A fascinating and provocative portrayal of turn-of-the-century America that hums with energy and wit." - Kirkus Reviews
"Literature's romance with building-as-metaphor earns new energy through Millhauser's latest novel. . .which quietly chronicles the life of an entrepreneur whose career peaks when he builds a fabulous hotel. . .Taking its place alongside other fine tales of architectural symbology, from Poe to Ayn Rand, this enticing novel becomes at once a tale of life, a marriage and a creative imagination in crisis." - Publishers Weekly
"The novel is told as a fable, with prose both lush and dreamlike. The characters are intentionally rather shadowy, while the period details--of building construction, interior design, dress styles, street scenes--have a sensuality so palpable you can practically chew on them." - The Wall Street Journal
". . .this is a mature, skillful, intelligent and often very funny novel. . ." - The New Republic on Edwin Mullhouse
"Steven Millhauser is a wonderfully gifted and original writer. . ." - The Washington Post Book World
Albany Times Union Article by Paul Grondahl
Writers Online Magazine Article