Evan S. Connell

Evan S. Connell (born August 17, 1924, Kansas City, Missouri; formerly known as Evan S. Connell, Jr.) is an American novelist, poet, and short story writer.

His novels Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969) are bittersweet, gently satirical portraits of a conventional, unimaginative upper middle class couple living in Kansas City from the 1920s to the 1940s. The couple tries to live up to societal expectations and to be good parents, but are sadly incapable of bridging the emotional distance between themselves and their children, and between each other.

The pair of novels was made into a 1990 Merchant-Ivory motion picture, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, but despite fine performances, the books did not translate well to the screen. Hal Hinson writing in The Washington Post observed that "the film comes with a built-in problem. Its subject is emotional repression, and the challenge is to make a film about a soul-deep conservatism that doesn't itself suffer from the excess caution and lack of dynamism that its characters do. However, it's not a challenge that is met."

Connell's 1960 novel, The Patriot, is the story of Melvin Isaacs, aged 17, and his experiences in naval aviation school during the Second World War. Melvin faces the terrifying reality of training, which is in itself a highly dangerous activity, and with the likelihood of his "washing out" (failing). Melvin's attempts to communicate the realities of his experience to his father are rebuffed. The characters of Melvin and his father Jacob are similar in many respects to those of Douglas and Mr. Bridge.

Connell's 1984 biography of Custer, Son of the Morning Star, won critical acclaim, was a bestseller, and was made into a television miniseries in 1991.


  • The Anatomy Lesson (1957) (short stories)
  • Mrs. Bridge (1958)
  • The Patriot (1960)
  • Notes From A Bottle Found On The Beach At Carmel (1962) (poetry)
  • At The Crossroads (1965) (short stories)
  • The Diary Of A Rapist (1966)
  • Here it is, in "Why Work Series" editor Gordon Lish (1966)
  • Mr. Bridge (1969)
  • Points For A Compass Rose (1973) (poetry)
  • The Connoisseur (1974)
  • Double Honeymoon (1976)
  • White Lantern (1981) (essays, non-fiction)
  • Son Of The Morning Star: Custer And The Little Bighorn (1985, ISBN 0883940884) (non-fiction)
  • A Long Desire (1988) (essays, non-fiction)
  • The Alchymist's Journal (1991, republished in 2006 as Alchymic Journals)
  • The Collected Stories of Evan S. Connell (1995)
  • Deus Lo Volt (2000, ISBN 158243140X)
  • The Aztec Treasure House: New and Selected Essays (2001, ISBN 1582432538)(non-fiction)
  • Francisco Goya: A Life (2004, ISBN 1582433070)

External links

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