John Barth

(b. 1930) American novelist and short-story writer

Quick Reference

(1930– ),

American novelist, whose essay ‘The Literature of Exhaustion’ argued that fiction was unable to keep up with the rapidly changing face of the post‐war world. Consequently his own work has tended towards metafiction (Giles Goat‐Boy, 1966), historical pastiche (The Sot‐Weed Factor, 1960), and academic parody (Sabbatical, 1992). His playful brand of postmodernism—intrusive narrators, self‐reflexive stories—suggests a body of work that is constantly turning in on itself, a project whose appeal is watching it implode. Recent works include the novel Coming Soon!!! (2001), about two writers racing to complete a book, The Book of Ten Nights and a Night (2004, short stories), and Where Three Roads Meet (2005, three novellas).

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Works by John Barth