Interested in many subjects, Robert
Myron Coates was a writer of fiction, nonfiction, history, art criticism, and
short stories. He was born in 1897 in New Haven, Connecticut. Although he moved
a lot as a child, he returned to his hometown to attend Yale University after
serving as a Royal Canadian Navy pilot during World War I. Starting in 1929, he
became a longtime columnist for the New Yorker, reviewing art until 1967.
Mr. Coates wrote his first
novel, The Eater of Darkness, in 1926 and went on to create six more
during his lifetime: The Farther Shore, The Night Before Dying,
Yesterday's Burdens, Wisteria Cottage, and The Bitter Season.
He also wrote three collections of short stories, an autobiography, and three
other non-fiction books, including The Outlaw Years, a
vividly-told story that restores the outlaw to his prominent place in the
American frontier history, without making him into a hero.
Mr. Coates' short stories were
selected to appear in The Best American Short Stories in 1939, 1953,
1956, and 1959. He died of cancer in New York City in 1973.