E.L. Doctorow, the renowned author of "Ragtime" and many other works of historical fiction and nonfiction, has died. He was 84.
He died Tuesday at a hospital in New York of complications from lung cancer, his son, Richard Doctorow, told the Los Angeles Times.
Doctrow's books included "Ragtime," which was adapted into a film and a Broadway musical, and "World's Fair," which won the National Book Award in 1986.
"Ragtime," which four decades after its initial publication remains his best-known work, weaves historical figures such as architect Stanford White, White’s lover, Evelyn Nesbit, and anarchist Emma Goldman into the fabric of its fiction to create a three-dimensional pastiche of
A novelist, Doctorow told the Times in 2006, "partakes of many identities. People say to me, 'A lot
of your novels take place in the past. Are you a historical novelist?' I don't think of myself that way, but if you want to call me that, go ahead. Then someone will say, 'There's a certain political quality to a lot of your work. Would you call yourself a political novelist?' And I'll say, 'I've never thought of myself as a political novelist, but if that suits you, why not?' And then someone will say, 'You're a Jewish novelist' -- and yes, I guess that's true, too. So I accept any kind of identity. I'm willing to participate in all of them, as long as none claims to be an exhaustive interpretation."
In addition to his son, Doctorow is survived by his wife, Helen Setzer; daughters Jenny Doctorow Fe-Bornstein and Caroline Doctorow Gatewood; and four grandchildren.