Peter De Vries

Peter De Vries

Peter De Vries (February 27, 1910 - September 28, 1993) was an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever" [ Daniel Dennett's Darwinian Mind: An Interview with a 'Dangerous' Man] in [ Science & Spirit] ]


He was educated in Dutch Christian Reformed Church schools, graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1931. He also studied at Northwestern University. He supported himself with a number of different jobs, including those of vending machine operator, toffee-apple salesman, radio actor in the 1930s, and as an editor for "Poetry" magazine from 1938 to 1944.

He joined the staff of "The New Yorker" magazine at the insistence of James Thurber and worked there from 1944 to 1987, writing stories and touching up cartoon captions. He had four children with wife Katinka Loeser; Jon, Derek, Jan, and Emily, who died at the age of 10 of leukemia. This experience provided the inspiration for his 1961 work, "The Blood of the Lamb."

A prolific writer, De Vries wrote short stories, reviews, poetry, essays, a play, novellas, and twenty-three novels. Films made from De Vries novels include "The Tunnel of Love" (1958), which also was a successful Broadway play; "How Do I Love Thee?" (1970, based on "Let Me Count the Ways"); "Pete 'n' Tillie" (1972, based on "Witch’s Milk"); and "Reuben, Reuben" (1970), which also inspired a Broadway play, "Spofford". Although he enjoyed success for five decades, all his novels were out of print by the time of his death.

De Vries received an honorary degree in 1979 from Susquehanna University. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 1983.


He died September 28, 1993, aged 83, in Norwalk, Connecticut.


*"But Who Wakes the Bugler?" (1940)
*"The Handsome Heart" (1943)
*"Angels Can't Do Better" (1944)
*"No But I Saw the Movie"(1952)
*"The Tunnel of Love" (1954)
*"Comfort Me with Apples" (1956)
*"The Mackerel Plaza" (1958)
*"The Tents of Wickedness" (1959)
*"Through the Fields of Clover" (1961)
*"The Blood of the Lamb" (1961)
*"Reuben, Reuben" (1964)
*"Let Me Count the Ways" (1965)
*"The Vale of Laughter" (1967)
*"The Cat's Pajamas" (1968)
*"Witch's Milk" (1968)
*"Mrs. Wallop" (1971)
*"Into Your Tent I'll Creep" (1971)
*"Without A Stitch In Time" (1972)
*"Forever Panting" (1973)
*"The Glory Of The Hummingbird" (1974)
*"I Hear America Swinging" (1976)
*"Madder Music" (1977)
*"Consenting Adults; or, The Duchess Will Be Furious" (1980)
*"Sauce for the Goose" (1981)
*"Slouching Towards Kalamazoo" (1983)
*"The Prick of Noon" (1985)
*"Peckham's Marbles" (1986)

External links

* [ "The Return of Peter De Vries"] from Westport magazine


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