George Garrett: A Critical Biography

Article excerpt

George Garrett: A Critical Biography. By Casey Clabough. (Huntsville: Texas Review Press, 2013. Pp. [xviii], 209. Paper, $22.95, ISBN 978-1937875-00-8.) Casey Clabough is a disciple of George Garrett, and this "critical biography" is a disciple's book, with all of the strengths and some of the weaknesses that such a label entails. Though this is not a long book, it is difficult to imagine a more careful, thorough, yet compact account of Garrett's remarkable literary life, one that Clabough suggests ultimately is best understood as that of a "southern 'man of letters'--he (or she) who embraces and produces literature in all its complexity and multiple forms (novels, short stories, poems, plays, criticism, translation, editing, and so on)" (p. 189). Clabough painstakingly summarizes a great deal of the work in fiction and poetry, cites a wide array of the most significant reviews and criticism devoted to Garrett, and neatly organizes all the material around key moments in the author's life. Readers move from Garrett's birth and early relationships (especially with his father) in Florida, through his formal education at the Sewanee Military Academy and Princeton University, marriage, stint in the army, and years in Rome, to an itinerant academic life that ends with his settling at the University of Virginia in 1984, where he would remain through his retirement in 2000 until his death in 2008. …

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