Sorrentino, Gilbert

▪ 2007

      American poet and experimental novelist (b. April 27, 1929, Brooklyn, N.Y.—d. May 18, 2006, Brooklyn), made use of devices such as nonchronological structure to illustrate his dictum that “form not only determines content but form invents content.” From 1956 to 1960 Sorrentino was editor and publisher of Neon, a magazine that featured works by Beat writers; he was also book editor (1961–65) for Kulchur. In 1982 Sorrentino, who attended Brooklyn College but did not graduate, began teaching creative writing at Stanford University, where he became professor emeritus in 1999. Sorrentino's avant-garde novels included The Sky Changes (1966), each chapter of which was named for a town the protagonists visit; Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things (1971), a plotless, digressive satire of the New York art scene of the 1960s; Splendide-Hôtel (1973), a novelistic defense of poetry arranged in 26 alphabetical sections; Mulligan Stew (1979), considered by some critics to be the apotheosis of avant-garde fiction, a multilevel mélange of Joycean proportions that satirized creativity; Odd Number (1985), which dealt with unanswered questions; Rose Theatre (1987), each chapter of which was written in a different narrative style; Misterioso (1989), an exhaustive alphabetical catalog of everything discussed in Odd Number and Rose Theatre; and Under the Shadow (1991), a series of 59 vignettes with recurring characters and images. Sorrentino's later works included Little Casino (2002) and The Moon in Its Flight (2004). His verse collections included The Darkness Surrounds Us (1960), The Perfect Fiction (1968), and The Orangery (1978).

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▪ American poet
born April 27, 1929, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.
died May 18, 2006, Brooklyn

      American poet and experimental novelist, whose use of devices such as nonchronological structure illustrated his dictum that “form not only determines content but form invents content.”

      From 1956 to 1960 Sorrentino was editor and publisher of Neon, a magazine that featured works by Beat (Beat movement) writers; he was also book editor (1961–65) for Kulchur. In 1982 Sorrentino, who attended Brooklyn College but did not graduate, began teaching creative writing at Stanford University, where he became professor emeritus in 1999.

      Among Sorrentino's avant-garde novels are The Sky Changes (1966), each chapter of which is named for a town the protagonists visit; Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things (1971), a plotless, digressive satire of the New York art scene of the 1960s; Splendide-Hôtel (1973), a novelistic defense of poetry arranged in 26 alphabetical sections; Mulligan Stew (1979), considered by some critics to be the apotheosis of avant-garde fiction, a multilevel mélange of Joycean proportions that satirizes creativity; Odd Number (1985), which deals with unanswered questions; Rose Theatre (1987), each chapter of which is written in a different narrative style; Misterioso (1989), an exhaustive, alphabetical catalog of everything discussed in Odd Number and Rose Theatre; and Under the Shadow (1991), a series of 59 vignettes with recurring characters and images. Sorrentino's later works include Red the Fiend (1995) and Pack of Lies (1997).

      Sorrentino also wrote poetry, and his verse collections include The Darkness Surrounds Us (1960), The Perfect Fiction (1968), and The Orangery (1978). Among his numerous honours were two Guggenheim fellowships (1973, 1987).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

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