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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Always Another Way of Seeing Things

 “Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.” – John Barth

Born in Maryland on this date in 1930, Barth is best known for his postmodernist fiction, especially The Sot Weed Factor, his short story collection Lost in the Funhouse, and the novella collection Chimera, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Called "Jack" by his family, Barth and his twin sister Jill graduated from Cambridge (MD) High School, where he played drums and began writing by working on the school newspaper.


Writing off-and-on throughout college (he earned two degrees at Johns Hopkins University) Barth began his full-time writing career with two short “Realist Novels,” The Floating Opera and The End of the Road, dealing wittily with the controversial topics of suicide and abortion, respectively.


Author of 21 books, he won both the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story in 1998. 

“When you look at this mirror,” Barth said,  “I hope you'll remember that there's always another way of seeing things: that's the beginning of wisdom.”


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