John Barth (b.1930)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch27

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) John Barth (b.1930), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch27

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • John Barth (b.1930), novels - accused of exhibiting faults, as pedantry, chauvinism, self-indulgence, unreadability, and general disinterest in the world beyond the four walls of his study;
  • first major writing project at Penn State - the “Dorchester Tales,” a cycle of 100 stories incorporating history and tradition of Maryland's Eastern Shore;
  • The Floating Opera and The End of the Road - novels completed by 1955;
  • The Floating Opera (1956), accepted by publisher Appleton, Century Crofts - on condition that Barth change his proposed ending;
  • Barth, and two novels of realistic fiction - taking a more radical direction with his third novel, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960);
  • Giles Goat-Boy, his next book - Barth, accepting a teaching position at the State University of New York, Buffalo;
  • Barth's fifth book, Lost in the Funhouse (1968) - series of 14 fictions, previously published;
  • Barth, winning a National Book Award - for his sixth book, Chimera (1972) of three novellas “Dunyazadiad” for the sister of the One Thousand and One Nights narrator Scheherazade;
  • Barth, returning to a more realistic mode - in Sabbatical, A Romance (1982);
  • frame story of The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991) - set in a modern hospital room


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography