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Merton Center Manuscripts:

'Kelley, William Melvin, 1937-'

William Melvin Kelley; William Kelley; William M. Kelley; Kelley, William M.

William Melvin Kelley was born and raised in New York. He went to Harvard with the intention of becoming a lawyer, but experienced a life-changing desire to become a writer after attending a prose fiction class of John Hawkes. He began writing an did not finish at Harvard. His novels and short stories reflect mythic takes on the frustration of the African American experience of racism in the United States. He first writes to Merton in response to a review Merton wrote for Kelley's first novel, A Different Drummer, thanking him more that he "got it" than for liking it. The following year, he writes Merton after having read some of his writings. He expresses that he is not a Christian and harbors both happy and bitter memories of his mother's Catholicism. He expresses feeling more affirmed in Catholic Italy, though, than Protestant America. He would later move to Paris, a move to further distance himself from United States culture. He would later seek to rediscover some of the oral history tradition of Africa. Some of his other books include A Drop of Patience and Dəm. (Source: "Kelley, William Melvin". World Authors. 1970. Online. H.W. Wilson. Bellarmine University Library, Louisville, KY. 2005/05/12. ‹›.)

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#SectionAuthor1st Pub1st Serial 1st BookWork ReviewedContent
1. Crossreference ; See:  Legend of Tucker Caliban, The. Review of A different drummer, by William Melvin Kelley. -->