John Barth: An Introduction

David Morrell
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In 1969, while David Morrell was writing First Blood, the novel in which Rambo was created, he also wrote his doctoral dissertation about acclaimed author, John Barth. In it, Morrell analyses Barth’s early fiction, using interviews with Barth, his agent, and his editors as well as several of Barth’s unpublished essays and letters to tell what Morrell calls “the story behind the stories, a biography of Barth’s fiction.” Over the years, scholars have found John Barth: An Introduction invaluable for its lengthy biographical sections, which Barth himself approved. Fans of Morrell’s fiction will find this book enlightening in terms of what Barth taught him about writing.



 “David Morrell’s not just a fine writer; he’s also a great and generous teacher.”

New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block


“Morrell has written an interesting and informative book which reads occasionally like a biography. His prose is eminently clear and straightforward. His book has something for everyone. There is no doubt that it will become a necessity for serious students of Barth, and that, coincidentally, it is a genuinely interesting book.”

Journal of Modern Literature


“Morrell’s study tells the story of Barth’s storytelling, how he got his ideas, and then how the publishers and reviewers dealt with them. He includes detailed biographical information [and] writes with great economy and clarity.”

Modern Fiction Studies


“Morrell gives the reader the benefit of his familiarity with Barth and his manuscripts to plot the career of each work, from plans and, in some cases, research through revision, publisher-agent reactions, sales, and post-publication revisions. The whole enterprise is carried off with appealing confidence and informality that add up to an eminently readable book.”

World Literature Today

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David Morrell
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Published on
Dec 16, 2015
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Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Literary Criticism / Modern / 20th Century
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In 1916, Mexican bandit Pancho Villa raided the southwestern border town of Columbus. Three hundred American soldiers fought four hundred attackers in a battle that ended with one of the last cavalry charges in U.S. history. Outraged, Congress ordered the U.S. Army to invade Mexico in pursuit of Villa. For the first time, trucks and airplanes accompanied U. S. cavalry into combat, practicing for America’s entry into World War I. Influenced by Sam Peckinpah, Rambo-creator David Morrell dramatizes this epic era in American history through the eyes of a civilian scout old enough to have been in the Civil War, the Indian wars, Cuba, and the Philippines. Knowing that his ways are finished, he teaches a young recruit about the past, at a cost he never expected to pay.

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