George Jean Nathan

George Jean Nathan

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George Jean Nathan

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George Jean Nathan (February 14, 1882 – April 8, 1958) was an American drama critic and editor.

Early life

Nathan was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated from Cornell University in 1904, where he was a member of the Quill and Dagger society, and an editor of The Cornell Daily Sun.

Drama critic career

Noted for the erudition and cynicism of his reviews, Nathan was an early champion of Eugene O'Neill. Together with H.L. Mencken, he co-edited the magazine The Smart Set from 1914 and co-founded The American Mercury in 1924. He was also a founder and an editor (1932–35) of the American Spectator, and after 1943 he wrote a syndicated column for the New York Journal-American. He also co-authored with Mencken (under the pseudonym of Owen Hatteras) the autobiographical Pistols for Two.

Over the years, Nathan's criticisms were published in Mr. George Jean Nathan Presents (1917), The Critic and the Drama (1922), The Testament of a Critic (1931), Since Ibsen (1933), Passing Judgments (1935), The World of George Jean Nathan (1952), and The Magic Mirror (1960). Nathan's philosophy of criticism is laid out in Autobiography of an Attitude (1925).

Relationships and marriage

Though he published a paean to The Bachelor Life in 1941, Nathan had a reputation as a "ladies man" -- and one not averse to dating within his field; indeed the character of Addison De Witt, the waspish theater critic who squires a starlet (played by a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe) in the...
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