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Sorrentino, Gilbert

MARTIN RIKER


Subject Literature » American Literature, Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature

Key-Topics fiction, satire

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405192446.2011.x


Extract

One of the great formal innovators of twentieth-century letters, Gilbert Sorrentino was and remains an unclassifiable writer. Although an accomplished poet and superior critic, he is known primarily for over 20 works of fiction, each of which creates or appropriates its own set of styles, characters, and narrative strategies, the author finding in each new work an opportunity to reinvent his art in startlingly original ways. Born in Brooklyn in 1929, Sorrentino attended public school and later studied English literature and classics at Brooklyn College. In the 1950s, he founded the small magazine Neon , and through Neon worked with such influential writers as William Carlos Williams and Robert Creeley, as well as LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), with whom Sorrentino later coedited the magazine Kulchur. He worked as an editor at Grove Press during the 1960s, after which he taught at schools in the New York area, until eventually accepting a position at Stanford University, where he taught for several decades. Upon retirement, he returned to Brooklyn, where he died in 2006. Like other innovative writers of the latter half of the twentieth century, Sorrentino drew his aesthetics from various modernist predecessors. Beyond Pound's dictum to “make it new,” he was perhaps most guided by the violently imaginative, precise language of William Carlos Williams and Arthur Rimbaud, who are ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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