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John Barth (1930 - )

Lifespan: 1930 -

Related: metafiction - postmodern literature - American literature

Certainly Barth had his own precursors. In "The Literature of Exhaustion [August 1967 Atlantic Monthly]," he cites Nabokov, Borges, and Beckett as the kind of technically adventurous writers whose company he would like to join, and, even further, praises Borges for his recogniton that no writer is truly original--such a writer would be unreadable, would make it so difficult for us to find our literary footing that the effort wouldn't finally be worth the trouble--but in effect is merely commenting on what's already been done. ("Pierre Menard," for example.) Thus Barth acknowledges that all literary writing is, in this broadest sense, generic writing. Moreover, Barth also confesses that he himself is a writer who "chooses to rebel along traditional lines," perhaps only inviting the charge that he's really not very innovative after all, merely imitative of his own favorite innovators--who themselves aren't really innovative, either, etc., etc. --The Reading Experience

Chimera (1972) - John Barth [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


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. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John Barth [Mar 2006]

Chimera (1972) - John Barth

Product Description:
In Chimera John Barth injects his signature wit into the tales of Scheherezade of the Thousand and One Nights, Perseus, the slayer of Medusa, and Bellerophon, who tamed the winged horse Pegasus. In a book that the Washington Post called "stylishly maned, tragically songful, and serpentinely elegant," Barth retells these tales from varying perspectives, examining the myths" relationship to reality and their resonance with the contemporary world. A winner of the National Book Award, this feisty, witty, sometimes bawdy book provoked Playboy to comment, "There"s every chance in the world that John Barth is a genius." --Amazon.com

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