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Gilbert Sorrentino

Gilbert Sorrentino (1929 - 2006), “like a reckless heir to Borges, Barthelme and Groucho Marx, co-opted the language of critical discourse to subvert his audience’s preconceptions and, in so doing, redrew the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ art” (The New York Times). For much of the 1950’s and 60’s, Sorrentino published literary journals and magazines and in 1965 took a job at Grove Press where his first editing assignment was Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Sorrentino’s first novel, The Sky Changes, was published in 1966, and over 20 titles of fiction and poetry followed. In 1973, Sorrentino published his most commercially successful work, Mulligan Stew. Of his novel Blue Pastoral, the Atlantic Monthly said, “Sorrentino demonstrates, with a steady flow of puns, parodies, misquotations (deliberate), incorrect historical references (ditto), and hideous verse (presumably also ditto), that the country abounds in foolishness.”

He taught at Stanford University from 1982 to 1999 and returned to his native Brooklyn, New York, following his retirement.

Prizes, Awards & Fellowships
  • 1992 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction
  • 2005 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement