British by birth, American citizen since 1971, Mr. West has authored an array of imaginative novels — including Rat Man of Paris, Lord Byron's Doctor, The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests, The Tent of Orange Mist — along with such non-fiction works as A Stroke of Genius and Words for a Deaf Daughter. His reviews appear regularly in the pages of the New York Timesand the Washington Post. He lived in Ithaca, NY, traveled widely giving talks and readings, was one of the fiction judges of the 1990 National Book Award, and received many prizes and awards. Mr. West died on October 18, 2015.
Lord Byron's Doctor
The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests
The Universe, and Other Fictions
Rat Man of Paris
The Very Rich Hours of Count Stauffenberg
I'm Expecting to Live Quite Soon
Bela Lugosi's White Christmas
Tenement of Clay
Sheer Fiction (Volumes One to Four)
Out of My Depths: A Swimmer in the Universe
Words for a Deaf Daughter
The Snow Leopard
The Modern Novel
The Wine of Absurdity
Byron and the Spoiler's Art
I, Said the Sparrow
Born: Eckington, Derbyshire, England, 1930; moved to the United States, 1961; became citizen, 1971. Education: The University of Birmingham, 1947-50, B.A. (1st class honours) 1950; Oxford University, 1950-52; Columbia University, New York, M.A. 1953. Military Service: Served in the Royal Air Force, 1954-57: flight lieutenant. Career: Assistant professor, 1957-58, and associate professor of English, 1959-62, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's. Associate professor, 1962-68, professor of English and comparative literature, and senior fellow, 1968-94, and since 1994, emeritus professor of English, Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. Visiting professor of comparative literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1965-66; Pratt Lecturer, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1970; Crawshaw Professor of Literature, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, Fall 1972; Virginia Woolf Lecturer, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1973; Melvin Hill Visiting Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, Fall 1974; writer-in-residence, Wichita State University, Kansas, 1982, and University of Arizona, Tucson, 1984; visiting professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1986. Contributor to New Statesman, London, 1954-62. Since 1962 regular contributor to New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World. Awards: Canada Council Senior fellowship, 1960; Guggenheim fellowship, 1962; Aga Khan prize (Paris Review), 1974; National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, 1980, 1985; Hazlett Memorial award, 1981; American Academy award, 1985; Pushcart prize, 1987, 1991; New York Public Library Literary Lion award, 1987; Best American Essays award, 1990; Outstanding Achievement medal, Pennsylvania State University, 1991; Grand Prix Halpérine-Kaminsky for Best Foreign Book, 1992; Lannan prize, for fiction, 1993; Distinguished Teaching award, Joint Graduate Schools of the Northeast, 1993.
Homage to Paul West — The Cosmic Range of an Eccentric Genius, by Vincent Czyz
OCTOBER 18, 2016
Editorial note by Bill Marx: I have written often about Paul West, who died at the age of 85 last year  on October 18th. In A Thousand Words for Paul West, I argue that he is among America’s finest writers, a proud maximalist who pressed language to its limits. And I stand by what I wrote about him in the late 1980s in an article for The Boston Phoenix: “No contemporary American prose writer can touch him for sustained rhapsodic invention — he creates a hyperbolic hymn to joy, a swashbuckling swirl of sentences. West stands as an authentic voice in the wilderness, a visionary who plugs the ghosts of history and morality into his textual dream machines.” On the one-year anniversary of West’s death, it feels necessary to hear his rampaging voice once again, making good on its lordly claim to supply “horn-of-plenty bravura.” The author of over 50 books, he rarely failed to boggle the mind, and he kicks up some stardust in this interview with Arts Fuse writer (and fellow West admirer) Vincent Czyz. A version of this piece was published in the Summer 1999 issue of New Millennium Writings.
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