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5. The Eater of Darkness by Robert Coates

Robert Myron Coates (April 6, 1897 – February 8, 1973) was an American writer and a long-term art critic for the New Yorker. He used the term "abstract expressionism" in 1946 in reference to the works of Hans HofmannArshile GorkyJackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and others.

As a writer of fiction, he is considered a member of the Lost Generation, having spent part of his life abroad in Europe. His first three novels are highly experimental, drawing upon Dadasurrealism and expressionism for their effect. His last two novels are examples of crime fiction in which the narrator presents a psychopathological case study of the protagonist. Nowadays, Coates is best known for The Outlaw Years (1930), which deals with the history of the land pirates of the Natchez Trace.


  • The Eater of Darkness (Contact Editions, Paris 1926; Macaulay, New York, 1929; republished by Putnam, 1959)

  • Yesterday's Burdens (1933; rpt. 1975, 2020)

  • The Bitter Season (1946)

  • Wisteria Cottage (1948) (also known as The Night Before Dying)

  • The Farther Shore (1955)

Short fiction


  • All the Year Round (1943)

  • The Hour After Westerly (1957)

  • The Man Just Ahead of You (1965)


  • The Outlaw Years (1930)

  • The View from Here (1960). Memoir

  • Beyond the Alps (1961)

  • South of Rome (1965)

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