CLIFFORD IRVING Biography - Writers


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Name: Clifford Michael Irving                                                             
Born: November 5, 1930                                                                     
Clifford Michael Irving (born November 5, 1930) is an American writer, best               
known for an "authorized autobiography" of Howard Hughes that turned out to be a           
Irving grew up in New York City, the son of Dorothy and Jay Irving, a magazine             
cover artist and the creator of the syndicated comic strip Pottsy, about a New             
York policeman.  After graduating in 1947 from Manhattan's High School of                 
Music and Art, Irving attended Cornell University, had a two-year marriage (to             
Nina Wilcox) and worked on his first novel, On a Darkling Plain (Putnam, 1956)             
while he was a copy boy at The New York Times. He completed his second novel,             
The Losers (1958), as he traveled about Europe. While living on the island of             
Ibiza he met an Englishwoman, Claire Lydon, and they married in 1958, moving to           
California. She was killed in Big Sur in an automobile accident.                           
On a Darkling Plain and The Losers were not financially successful but received           
excellent reviews. On a Darkling Plain was sometimes compared with another novel           
set at Cornell, Charles Thompson's Halfway Down the Stairs (1957). John O. Lyons,         
in an addendum to his 1962 survey, "The College Novel in America: 1962-1974" (Critique,   
1974) saw a tendency toward pranks and put-ons in Irving's early work:                     
Richard Farina's Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1966) continues the             
iconoclastic Cornell Bildungsroman of the fifties by Clifford Irving, On a                 
Darkling Plain (1956); Charles Thompson, Halfway Down the Stairs (1957); and               
Robert Gutwillig, After Long Silence (1958). The oscillation between Weltschmerz           
and pranks in these novels was undoubtedly an influence on "The Whole Sick Crew"           
of Pynchon's V.