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Leslie Epstein papers

Identifier: C-30

Scope and Contents

The Epstein Papers are arranged into four series and 46 boxes. Series I, the largest series at 33 boxes, consists of manuscript drafts of eight novels. These are organized chronologically, beginning with the 1975 P.D. Kimerakov and ending with the 1999 novel Ice, Fire, Water: A Lieb Goldkorn Cocktail. Series II, Academic Materials, comprises six boxes of material from Epstein’s undergraduate and postgraduate years. It is divided into two subseries, plays and papers, and each subdivision is ordered chronologically. Series III, Correspondence, is organized alphabetically into two boxes; most senders have only one or two letters. Series IV, Miscellaneous Materials, is comprised of five boxes of essays, memoirs, reviews, poems, short stories, lectures, awards and diplomas, arranged by genre and material format.


  • Creation: 1952 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

Leslie Epstein was born on May 4, 1938, in Los Angeles, CA. He is the son of screenwriter Philip and Lillian (Targen) Epstein. He married Ilene Gradman, November 1, 1969 and has three children: daughter, Anya, and twin sons, Paul and Theo. He received his BA from Yale University in 1960, a diploma from Oxford University in 1962, an MA from UCLA in 1963, and a D.F.A. from Yale in 1967. He is the current director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, Boston, MA. Epstein is the author of seven novels: P.D. Kimerakov (1975); King of the Jews: A Novel of the Holocaust (1979); Regina (1982); Pinto & Sons (1990); Pandaemonium (1997); Ice, Fire, Water: A Lieb Goldkorn Cocktail (1999); and San Remo Drive (2003), which is not represented in this collection. He also has two books of short stories: The Steinway Quintet Plus Four (1976), and Goldkorn Tales (three novellas, 1985). He has contributed stories, articles and reviews to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Antaeus, Playboy, and Antioch Review. Epstein's' most controversial work has been his 1979 novel, King of the Jews. In it, he examines the role that some European Jews played in betraying their own people to the Nazis. In the New York Times Book Review, Robert Alter states that until King of the Jews was published, "no work of fiction [had] opened up so fully the unbearable moral dilemma in which the Judenrat members found themselves, governing with a pistol at their heads, administering the processes of death, corrupted of course by their awful power, yet trying to preserve life when there was no real way to preserve it."


46 Boxes

Language of Materials



Leslie Epstein's collection is made up of material from each of his eight novels, including some complete drafts, galleys, and setting copes, as well as many incomplete drafts and alternate versions. He also has saved many notes covering his ideas as well as his research. Also included are his papers from college and graduate school – plays, essays, stories, his undergraduate thesis, and his dissertation. The collection also has a number of correspondences, multiple reviews of his work, lecture notes, unpublished works, and personal memorabilia.


This collection is arranged into 4 series. I. Novels (1975-1999), II. Academic materials, III. Correspondence, and IV. Miscellaneous materials. Series I and II are arranged chronollogically, series III is organized alphabetically, and series IV is arranged by genre and material format.

Other Finding Aids

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Robert Buckeye, Abernethy Collection and Special Collections Curator, purchased the collection from Mr. Epstein on March 7, 2002, after an appraisal by Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., on February 27, 2002

Processing Information

Finding Aid Reviewed, August 2012.

Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States