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Charles Frederic Nirdlinger was a playwright and drama critic who encouraged Nathan's entrance into journalism.Uncle Samuel Nixon-Nirdlinger was an important theater manager who secured free tickets for Nathan's family.Here was one of the great partnerships in American letters, for Mencken and Nathan were the arbiters, if not dictators, for what the "flaming youth" of 1920s America deemed worthwhile reading.
George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) was the leading American drama critic of his time.
Active from 1905 to 1958, he published thirty-four books on the theatre, co-edited with H. Mencken, and zealously practiced "destructive" theatre criticism.
It features three roses, flowers that symbolize the critic's praise, with their thorns symbolizing the critic's scorn. Nathan directed in his will that the prize is “to be awarded annually by a majority vote of the then heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton, and Yale Universities.” This committee of three has functioned since the award was established.
The chair of the English department of Cornell University heads the selection committee.
A satirical poem of the day, "Mencken, Nathan and God," summed up their particular hold on the literate public of the 20s. He settled into a bachelor's apartment at New York's Royalton Hotel.
He remained there for forty-five years, the rooms gradually filling with books and manuscripts.On his father's side Nathan was French; his father, Charles Naret Nathan, was the son of a Parisian attorney.He was one of the owners of the Eugene Peret vineyards in France and of a coffee plantation in Brazil, but his primary income came from his wholesale liquor business.Except for books, all entries for the prize must have been published in the United States. Nathan’s interest in the current theatre, the selection committee will regard with special interest writings in dramatic criticism dealing with current or recent productions of the legitimate theatre, but the award may also be given for an outstanding work of criticism dealing with drama of the past.It is the aim of the selection committee to foster the spirit of the award by honoring criticism which demonstrates the highest level of critical thinking about theatre.Nathan wrote during the most important period of our theatre's history and set critical standards that are still being followed.In his will he established the annual George Jean Nathan Award for drama criticism.He suppressed any mention of his Jewishness and even fabricated a story that his mother attended the same convent school, St. Mary's Academy, but there is no record of her attending St. Nathan attended Cornell University where he was a champion fencer. After being graduated in 1904, he did not pursue a master's degree from the University of Bologna.This canard stems from the sham biographies Nathan and Mencken circulated during their .George Jean Nathan was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on February 14, 1882.Initially Nathan was educated by tutors at home and while abroad.