Lionel Rolfe has been a working journalist since he was 19 and went to work on the Pismo Beach Times. He went on to work for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Free Press, Psychology Today and several other mostly California publications over the years. He also was editor of the B'nai Brith Messenger for 10 years and has written seven books, including "Literary L.A.," "The Menuhins: A Family Odyssey," "Fat Man on the Left," "The Uncommon Relationship of Yaltah Menuhin and Willa Cather" and others. He has been anthologized in two major collections and his work is collected at USC's Doheny Library special collections.
Rolfe has worked full-time since age 19 at some of California's most prestigious newspapers (the Los Angeles Free Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle), was ten-year editor of the B'nai Brith Messenger (the second oldest newspaper in Los Angeles) and an editor for Psychology Today, when the magazine was edited from the beach in a secluded community near San Diego. He is also the author of nine books, including the classic LITERARY L.A. His first book was a family biography, THE MENUHINS: A Family Odyssey, which featured Lionel's uncle, violinist Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin was regarded as the greatest musical prodigy since Mozart. Rolfe then went on to write THE UNCOMMON FRIENDSHIP OF YALTAH MENUHIN AND WILLA CATHER, as well as volumes on literature, politics and history. It is not unfair to say that ROLFE's works explore the misadventurous merits of our own lives.
At 70, he published THE MISADVENTURES OF ARI MENDELSOHN: A Mostly True Memoir of California Journalism. It is an effort to sum up the meaning of half a century of "professional" observation. Whatever answers he has, they are here.
He was also anthologized in two major collection: Unknown California, Classics and Contemporary Writing on California Culture, Society and Politics (Macmillan, 1985) On Bohemia: The Code of the Self Exile (Transaction/Rutgers, 1990)
A lyrical tale of the intellectual and social circles in a California not often described except in a very different set of character narratives and class context. Bottom line though--Lionel Rolfe is an amazing writer, and its a total pleasure to read his sentences, let alone the story.
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