Oscar Mandel

20th Century Belgian writer

Oscar Mandel

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1926, Oscar Mandel fled with his family from the Germans in 1940 and settled in the United States. He has lived in New York, Philadelphia, Columbus, Ohio (where he received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1951), Lincoln, Nebraska, Los Angeles, and presently lives in Pasadena, California. He is Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at California Institute of Technology, and the author and translator of twenty books of poetry, criticism, fiction and drama. His many articles have appeared in such reviews as Virginia Quarterly, Antioch Review, Columbia University, Forum South Atlantic Quarterly, American Scholar, Accent, and The Massachusetts Review. Handel’s dramatic works have been produced, since 1961, on radio and in theaters in the United States, France, Switzerland and at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.

cover image of the book The Book Of Elaborations

The Book Of Elaborations

The art of the informal essay finds elegant voice in Oscar Mandel’s The Book of Elaborations. Like Montaigne before him, Mandel examines the antic mind of his fellow men, vain, various, and ever-changing, and its peculiar manifestations in an age that embraces ugliness and irrationality. The sixteen pieces in the collection are, literally, “elaborations”––discursive, associative, meditative––of the author’s earlier lyric poems and epigrams, arranged by him to move in an easy way from the autobiographical to matters more general and abstract.

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