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History of the Plutzik Reading Series

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Dannie Abse
Edward Albee
John Ashberry
James Baldwin
Toni Cade Bambara
John Barth
Dan Beachy-Quick
Madison Smartt Bell
John Berryman
Linda Bierds
Elizabeth Bishop
Gwendolyn Brooks
J. M. Coetzee
Robert Coover
Robert Creeley
Robertson Davies
Lydia Davis
Kathryn Davis
Samuel Delany
James Dickey
Daniel Donaghy
Beverly Donofrio
Rita Dove
Rikki Ducornet
Ralph Ellison
Clayton Eshleman
Brian Evenson
Alan Ginsberg
Dana Gioia
Joy Harjo
Matthea Harvey
Anthony Hecht
John Hollander
Maureen Howard
Richard Howard
Fanny Howe
Christine Hume
Shelly Jackson
LeRoi Jones
Erica Jong
Ilya Kaminsky
Sally Keith
Galway Kinnell
Maxine Kumin
Denise Levertov
James Longenbach
Robert Lowell
Alison Lurie
Nathaniel Mackey
Gerard Malenga
Ben Markus
Heather McHugh
Christopher Merrill
W. S. Merwin
Stephen Millhauser
Rick Moody
Michael Ondaatje
Alicia Ostriker
Michael Palmer
Carl Phillips
Tom Piazza
Marge Piercy
Robert Pinsky
Bin Ramke
Donald Revell
Adrienne Rich
Salman Rushdie
Joanna Scott
Alan Shapiro
William De Witt Snodgrass
John Updike
Helen Vendler
Ellen Bryant Voigt
Andrei Vosnesensky
Derek Walcott
Richard Wilbur
C K Williams
James Wright
Charles Wright
Dean Young
Paul Zimmer

John Barth

More about John Barth

John Simmons Barth (born May 27, 1930) is an American novelist and short-story writer, known for the postmodernist and metafictive quality of his work. John Barth was born in Cambridge, Maryland, and briefly studied "Elementary Theory and Advanced Orchestration" at Juilliard before attending Johns Hopkins University, receiving a B.A. in 1951 and an M.A. in 1952 (for which he wrote a thesis novel, The Shirt of Nessus). He was a professor at Penn State University (1953-1965), University at Buffalo (1965-1973), Boston University (visiting professor, 1972-1973), and Johns Hopkins University (1973-1995) before he retired in 1995.

Barth began his career with The Floating Opera and The End of the Road, two short novels that dealt wittily with controversial topics, suicide and abortion respectively. They were straightforward tales; as Barth later remarked, with gentle condescension, they "didn't know they were novels". Barth's next book, Giles Goat-Boy, of comparable size, was a speculative fiction based on the conceit of the university as universe. The short story collection Lost in the Funhouse and the novella collection Chimera were even more metafictional than their two predecessors, foregrounding the writing process and presenting achievements such as seven nested quotations. LETTERS was yet another tour de force, in which Barth and the characters of his first six books interacted. While writing those books, Barth was also pondering and discussing the theoretical problems of fiction writing, most notably in an essay, "The Literature of Exhaustion" (first printed in the Atlantic, 1967), that was widely considered to be a statement of "the death of the novel" (Compare with Roland Barthes's "The Death of the Author"). Barth has since insisted that he was merely making clear that a particular stage in history was passing, and pointing to possible directions from there. He later (1979) wrote a follow-up essay, "The Literature of Replenishment", to clarify the point.

His fiction continues to maintain a precarious balance between postmodern self-consciousness and wordplay on the one hand, and the sympathetic characterisation and "page-turning" plotting commonly ascribed to more traditional genres and subgenres of classic and contemporary storytelling.

1956 — Nominated for the National Book Award for The Floating Opera. 1966 — National Institute of Arts and Letters grant in literature. 1965 — The Brandeis University creative arts award in fiction. 1965-66 — The Rockefeller Foundation grant in fiction. 1968 — Nominated for the National Book Award for Lost in the Funhouse. 1972 — Awarded the National Book Award for Chimera. 1974 — Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 1974 — Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1997 — F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Fiction. 1998 — Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. 1998 — PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. 1999 — Enoch Pratt Society's Lifetime Achievement in Letters Award.

Text from wikipedia.org

Picture from University of Notre Dame
Copyright © 2005 University of Rochester
Photographs + Manuscripts: Plutzik Papers, Dept. of Rare Books, University of Rochester Libraries

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