Prepared for the Web by Barbara Bass, March 11, 2002
1 document case, .33 cu. ft., 11th floor
Alfred Chester (1928-1971) was, in his time, a lesser-known author of short
fiction; he was better known as a critical columnist in Book
Week. A gifted young man from humble circumstances, he was not well understood
by his family and was regarded as somewhat eccentric and self-destructive. His
characters, often depicted as insistent upon ignoring the disappointments of
reality, may have been influenced by his own experience with a childhood disease
that caused him to lose all of his body hair. He is also remembered for exalting
the homosexual in literature long before gay liberation made this acceptable.
Chester spent many years abroad, chiefly in France and Morocco, before returning
to New York in the 1960s. Some of his best-remembered books include Here
Be Dragons (1955), Jamie Is My Heart's Desire (1956) and Behold
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