Matthew Pearl is the author of the novels The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, and The Technologists. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than 30 languages. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Slate.com. He has been heard on shows including NPR's All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday.
Matthew Pearl grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School. He has also taught literature and creative writing at Harvard University and Emerson College, and has been a Visiting Lecturer in law and literature at Harvard Law School. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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The Draw of 19th Century America, by The Technologists Author, Matthew Pearl
The Technologists is a thriller revolving around the very first class at M.I.T. It is my fourth novel and my third set in Boston of the nineteenth century. I'm sometimes asked what it is about that time and place that appeals to me. I might need some psychoanalysis to answer. Like many other things in the creative process, I was drawn to the setting as much by accident and instinct as by a deliberate process. The first story I conceived as a novel, which would become The Dante Club, brought me to 1865 through historical fact - that was the year that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gathered some friends together to help him finish his groundbreaking translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, and that was the subject matter I wanted to pair with a mysterious story.
Though I came to it by chance, I found I enjoyed writing and researching about the nineteenth century. The more I immersed myself in it, the more I wrote in it, leading into more novels.
Though I had not planned to become such a long-running tourist to the nineteenth century, I recognize some specific elements that keep me there. I've always been fascinated by origins. What it was like to ...
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