Concept

Mark Helprin

Summary
Mark Helprin (born June 28, 1947) is an American novelist, journalist, conservative commentator, Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. While Helprin's fictional works straddle a number of disparate genres and styles, he has stated that he "belongs to no literary school, movement, tendency, or trend". Helprin was born in Manhattan, New York City, in 1947. His father, Morris Helprin, worked in the film industry, eventually becoming president of London Films. His mother was actress Eleanor Lynn, who starred in several Broadway productions in the 1930s and 40s. In 1953 the family left New York City for the prosperous Hudson River valley suburb of Ossining, New York. He was raised on the Hudson River and was educated at the Scarborough School, graduating in 1965. He later lived in the British West Indies. Helprin holds degrees from Harvard University (B.A. 1969), and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (M.A. 1972). Helprin's postgraduate study was at Princeton University and Magdalen College, Oxford, University of Oxford, 1976–77. He is Jewish-American, and he became an Israeli citizen during the late 1970s. He served in the Israeli infantry and the Israeli Air Force. Helprin is married to Lisa (Kennedy) Helprin. They have two daughters, Alexandra and Olivia. They live on a 56-acre farm in Earlysville, Virginia, and like his father and grandfather who had farms before him, Helprin does much of the work on his land. Helprin states that his literary creation "always starts with something very small". "I can sit down to write a story just by thinking of the first two words of a Scott Fitzgerald story: 'This Jonquil'—it's a woman's name. This always gets me in the mood to write. We create nothing new—no one has ever imagined a new color—so what you are doing is revitalizing. You are remembering, then combining, altering.
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