John Barth

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Barth, John

(bärth), 1930–, American writer, b. Cambridge, Md. He attended Johns Hopkins (B.A. 1951, M.A. 1952), and, beginning in 1973, taught writing at its graduate school for nearly 20 years. Barth's postmodern novels—experimental, comic, self-referential, and often sprawling—reflect his anger and despair at a world he finds ludicrous and meaningless. While his early books were extravagantly praised, many critics have viewed his later work as verbose and bordering on incomprehensibility. Barth has a particular gift for parody. One of his best-known novels, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960), is set in 17th-century Maryland and deftly satirizes historical novels. His other fiction includes The Floating Opera (1956), The End of the Road (1958), Giles Goat-Boy (1966), Chimera (1972), Letters (1979), Sabbatical (1982), Once upon a Time (1994), Coming Soon!!! (2001), and the novellas of Where Three Roads Meet (2005). His four volumes of short fiction—the postmodern Lost in the Funhouse (1968), the love stories of On with the Story (1996), the stories and commentary in the aftermath of 9/11 in The Book of Ten Nights and a Night (2004), and the end-of-life stories of The Development (2008)—are also in his Collected Stories (2015).


See studies by C. B. Harris (1983) and E. P. Walkiewicz (1986).

Barth, John (Simmons)

(1930–  ) writer, educator; born in Cambridge, Md. He graduated from Johns Hopkins, where, during a long academic career, he joined the English faculty (1973). His novels, some set on Maryland's Eastern Shore, were distinctive for their formal ingenuity and an existential questioning bordering on nihilism. They include The End of the Road (1958), Chimera (1972, National Book Award), and Tidewater Tales (1988). A major exception was his second novel, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960), a long, playful parody written in the style of an 18th century novel.
References in periodicals archive ?
I am grateful to John Barth for permission to quote from his manuscript and to the English Department of the University of Tennessee, which funded my examination of Barth's papers.
Finally, in "Into the 1950s: Fiction in the Age of Consensus," Seguin places in surprising conjunction two very different writers: John Barth and Ernest Hemingway.
On these grounds, the work of John Barth and the later Calvino is categorized as "late modernist," while Morrison, Doctorow and Tabucchi are seen as fully postmodernist.
If there were a John Barth prize for self- and oeuvre-consciousness, Davis would get it.
Devereaux's tearful reaction to her 9-year-old son's suicide attempt, the other a flashback to Henry's own tearful response to his daughter's bicycle accident) -- and you have a seriously comic version of a world that in the final analysis is worth living in, with or without tenure; early John Barth without the nihilism.
An introductory discussion of the ways in which literary postmodernism has been theorized by writers like Lyotard, Alan Wilde, John Barth, and Dick Higgins concludes that `"Post-Modernism" foregrounds and lays bare the process of world-making (and -unmaking) and the ontological structure of the fictional world' (p.
Harris, Passionate Virtuosity: The Fiction of John Barth (1983) and Max F.
THE TOPIC: Through a career spanning a brief two decades, David Foster Wallace was primed to assume the mantle of the Next Great American Writer from postmodern icons such as Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, and Donald Barthelme.
Critics openly "despised and mocked the ambitious and experience of a large portion of the book-buying public--the middle class--and scholars, as a group, turned away from the interest of middle-class social experience in fiction and settled their attention on formal achievements," heralding the postmodern patter of John Barth, Donald Barthehne, and Thomas Pynchon.
John Barth and postmodernism; spatiality, travel, montage.
At this presumably late stage in his career, John Barth is quietly confident in his ability to entertain us, making even the most mundane incidents--finding a lost wedding ring, a spat between lovers--funny and moving.