Peter De Vries
(February 27, 1910 – September 28, 1993) was an American editor
known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett
as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever".
De Vries was born in Chicago
, in 1910.
He was educated in Dutch Christian Reformed Church
schools, graduating from Calvin College
in Grand Rapids, Michigan
in 1931. He also studied at Northwestern University
. He supported himself with a number of different jobs, including those of vending machine
operator, toffee-apple salesman, radio actor in the 1930s, and editor for Poetry
magazine from 1938 to 1944. During World War II
De Vries served in the U.S. Marines
, attaining the rank of Captain and was seconded to the Office of Strategic Services
Very little is known about his time in the military or with that secret organization, the predecessor to the CIA
He joined the staff of The New Yorker
magazine at the insistence of James Thurber
and worked there from 1944 to 1987, writing stories and touching up cartoon captions. A prolific writer, De Vries wrote short stories, reviews, poetry, essays, a play, novellas, and twenty-three novels. Films made from De Vries's novels include The Tunnel of Love
(1958), which also was a successful Broadway play; How Do I Love Thee?
(1970, based on Let Me Count the Ways
); Pete 'n' Tillie
(1972, based on Witch’s Milk
); and Reuben, Reuben
(1983), which also inspired a Broadway play, Spofford
. Earlier, in 1952, De Vries also contributed to the writing of the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952
. Although he enjoyed success for five decades, all his novels were out of print by the time of his death.
Peter De Vries met his future wife, poet and author Katinka Loeser, in 1943 when she won an award from Poetry
magazine. The couple moved to Westport, Connecticut
in 1948. They were the parents of four children: sons Derek and Jon, daughters Jan and Emily. Emily died in 1960 at age ten after a two-year fight with leukemia.
This experience provided the inspiration for his 1961 work, The Blood of the Lamb.
His son Jon
is an actor who has appeared in movies such as American Gangster
; Sarah, Plain and Tall
; and Skylark
; as well as episodic television in shows like Blue Bloods
, Boardwalk Empire
, and Star Trek: The Next Generation
. His daughter Jan, an author, editor and psychic counselor whose interests and activities ranged from homeopathic medicine to shamanism, the occult and Native American lore, died in 1997 at age 52, of cancer.
- But Who Wakes the Bugler? (1940)
- The Handsome Heart (1943)
- Angels Can't Do Better (1944)
- No But I Saw the Movie (1952)
- The Tunnel of Love (1954)
- Comfort Me with Apples (1956)
- The Mackerel Plaza (1958)
- The Tents of Wickedness (1959)
- Through the Fields of Clover (1961)
- The Blood of the Lamb (1961)
- Reuben, Reuben (1964)
- Let Me Count the Ways (Little, Brown and Co., 1965)
- The Vale of Laughter (1967)
- The Cat's Pajamas (1968)
- Witch's Milk (1968)
- Mrs. Wallop (1971)
- Into Your Tent I'll Creep (1971)
- Without a Stitch in Time (1972)
- Forever Panting (1973)
- The Glory of the Hummingbird (1974)
- I Hear America Swinging (1976)
- Madder Music (1977)
- Consenting Adults; or, The Duchess Will Be Furious (1980)
- Sauce for the Goose (1981)
- Slouching Towards Kalamazoo (1983)
- The Prick of Noon (1985)
- Peckham's Marbles (1986)
Short stories and humorous pieces
- De Vries, Peter (1 January 1949). "Open House". The New Yorker. 24 (45): 40–43. Short story.
- De Vries, Peter (4 February 1950). "Jam Today". The New Yorker. 25 (50): 34–35. Humorous piece about jazz snobs.
- De Vries, Peter (8 April 1950). "Intruder In The Dusk". The New Yorker. 25 (66): 37–38. Short story in the style of William Faulkner.
- ^ Daniel Dennett's Darwinian Mind: An Interview with a 'Dangerous' Man Archived 2014-01-22 at the Wayback Machine in Science & Spirit
- ^ a b Rosenheim, Andrew (October 4, 1993). "Obituary: Peter De Vries". The Independent. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
- ^ Nofi, Albert A. (1997). Marine Corps Book of Lists, Albert A. Nofi. ISBN 9780938289890. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- ^ Bratt, James (1984). Dutch Calvinism in Modern America: A History of a Subculture. p. 179.
- ^ "The Return of Peter De Vries". Westport magazine. Moffly Media. April 2006. Archived from the original on 2014-03-21. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (2013). David and Goliath. Little, Brown and Company. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-316-20436-1.
- ^ "Obituary: Jan De Vries".
- ^ "Katinka Loeser obituary". The New York Times via website. 8 March 1991. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
Last edited on 11 May 2021, at 14:24
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