Wu Professor Given Book Critics Award

Article excerpt

The National Book Critics Circle awarded its 1994 criticism prize Sunday to Gerald L. Early, a professor of English and African and Afro-American studies at Washington University. The prize was for "The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature and Modern American Culture," (Ecco Press), a three-part examination of American culture.

Reached at his home Sunday evening, Early was unaware that he had received the award until told by a reporter.

"For me to win the award and to be in that class of writers is enormously humbling," said Early, who directs the African and Afro-American studies program at the university.

Stanley L. Elkin and William H. Gass, also Washington University faculty members, previously have won.

The 1994 fiction prize went to Carol Shields for "The Stone Diaries," a tender and witty portrait of an unassuming woman growing old in the 20th century.

Board member Art Winslow said that Shields' novel, published by Viking, narrowly defeated William Gaddis' "A Frolic of His Own" (Poseidon), which won the National Book Award in November. …