Ursule Molinaro

Ursule Molinaro was a prolific novelist, playwright, translator and visual artist, the author of 12 novels, two collections of short prose works, innumerable short stories for literary magazines and dozens of translations from French and German. She lived and wrote in French in Paris until shortly after World War II, when she came to New York in 1949 to work as a multilingual proofreader for the newly formed United Nations. Just a few years later, having realized that she would stay in the United States, she made the decision to systematically retrain herself not only to write, but to dream, think, and speak, in the language of her new soil. In the latter part of her life, she developed a method for teaching creative writing that relied wholly upon the oral and taught creative writing at several universities and in her home. She was an avid acrosticist and a self-trained artist (her paintings and collages appear on the covers of her books that were published by small press McPherson and Co.).

Molinaro's texts attempt to fulfill a Nietzschian ideal. They hinge on the belief that there is a human supra-psychology that transcends nationality, gender, psychosexual archetypes, and individual linguistic heritages. Using a vast battery of unusual and privileged literary tools, she hoped to arrive at a new set of universals by the stringent crafting of razor-sharp narratives, which come to merciless, acerbic conclusions about culture and go so far as to radically reinterpret Greek myth. During her lifetime, Ursule Molinaro’s poems and short stories appeared in a wide variety of magazines, including many prestigious names such as the Chelsea Review (of which she was a founding editor).

She knew and corresponded with many well-known writers and artists, including, just to name a few: Albert Camus, Marianne Moore, Anais Nin, and Edith Piaf.

A recipient of awards and fellowships from the McDowell Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the PEN American Center. She died in New York City on July 12, 2000.

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