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Pfussell1945

Paul Fussell in Paris, 1945. U.S. Army photograph. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Fussell
Born March 22, 1924 (1924-03-22) (age 93)
Pasadena, California
Occupation Educator; Historian; Social critic; Author
Genres Non-fiction
Notable award(s) National Book Award for Arts and Letters; National Book Critics Circle Award; Ralph Waldo Emerson Award. Military awards-- Purple Heart; Bronze Star

Paul Fussell (born March 22, 1924) is an American cultural and literary historian, author and university professor.[1] His writings cover a variety of genres, from scholarly works on eighteenth-century English literature to commentary on America’s class system.[1] He is best known for his writings about World War I and II.[1]

LifeEdit

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, USA, Fussell was the second of three children. His father, Paul Fussell (1895-1973), son of a widowed schoolteacher, became a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles with the firm of O’Melveny & Myers. His mother, Wilhma Wilson Sill (1893-1971), was the daughter of a carriage maker in Illinois.[2] His brother, Edwin Sill Fussell, was an author, poet, and professor of American Studies at the University of California, San Diego; his sister Florence Fussell Lind lives in Berkeley, California.

His daughter, Rosalind, is an artist-teacher in Arizona and the author of a graphic novel, Mammoir: A Pictorial Odyssey of the Adventures of a Fourth Grade Teacher with Breast Cancer[3]. His son, Samuel Wilson Fussell, a writer and hunter in Montana, is the author of the cult classic Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder.[4]

Fussell attended Pomona College from 1941 until he enlisted in the US Army in 1943. He landed in France in 1944 as a 20 year-old second lieutenant with the 103rd Infantry Division, was wounded while fighting in Alsace, and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946, returned to Pomona to finish his B.A. degree in 1946-7, married in 1949 a fellow Pomona graduate, Betty Harper, and completed his MA (1949) and Ph.D. (1952) at Harvard University.[5]

He began his teaching career at Connecticut College (1951-55) before moving to Rutgers University in 1955 and finally the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. He also taught at the University of Heidelberg (1957-58) and King’s College London (1990-92). As a teacher, he travelled widely with his family throughout Europe during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, taking Fulbright and sabbatical years in Germany, England and France.[6]

Betty Fussell, has described their marriage and its breakup in 1981 in her memoir, My Kitchen Wars[7]. After Fussell moved from his home in Princeton, New Jersey, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he divorced his first wife and married Harriette Behringer. He retired from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and currently lives with his wife in Oregon.[8]

WritingEdit

When he first entered college, Fussell intended a career in journalism. His plans changed when his sergeant was killed beside him in combat, as he writes in his memoir Doing Battle (1996)[9]. In his writings, he opposed war promoting instead a vision of rational enlightenment. He pointed to what he saw as the hypocrisy of governmental speech and the corruption of popular culture [10].

His published thesis, Theory of Prosody in Eighteenth-Century England, became Poetic Meter and Form (1954), a popular textbook for understanding poetry [11]. Samuel Johnson and The Life of Writing (1971)[12] underlay his admiration of The Ani-Egotist, Kingsley Amis: Man of Letters.[13]

His attention to England's civilized society was prologue to his most important book, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)[14].[1] John Keegan said its effect was "revolutionary", in that it showed how literature could be a vehicle for expressing the experience of large groups.[1] "What Paul did was go to the literary treatments of the war by 20 or 30 participants and turn them into an encapsulation of a collective European experience."[1]

Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars (1980) was a pioneering academic examination of travel literature which examined the travel books of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, D. H. Lawrence and Robert Byron.[1]

He stated he relished the inevitable controversy of Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (1983)[15] and indulged his increasing public status as a loved or hated "curmudgeon"[1] in the rant called BAD: or, The Dumbing of America (1991). In between, Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (1988)[16] confirmed his war against government and military doublespeak and prepared the way for Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (1989)[17]. The epiphany of his earlier essay, "My War", found full expression in his memoir Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (1996), "My Adolescent illusions, largely intact to that moment, fell away all at once, and I suddenly knew I was not and never would be in a world that was reasonable or just" [18]. His most recent book, The Boys' Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-45 (2003)[19] he again writes about his own war trauma.

RecognitionEdit

Fussell's 1975 literary study The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) won the National Book Award for Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa.[5] It was listed as #75 in the Modern Library's list of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century.

He was elected in 1977 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature [20]

Fussell was one of several veterans interviewed in the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The War in 2007, and in the 1999 ABC-produced documentary The Century: America's Time.

PublicationsEdit

  • Template:Cite Book
  • Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. 1965. 
  • The Rhetorical World of Augustan Humanism: Ethics and Imagery from Swift to Burke. 1965. 
  • Theory of Prosody in Eighteenth-Century England. 1966. 
  • Eighteenth-Century English Literature. 1969.  editor with Geoffrey Tillotson and Marshall Waingrow
  • Samuel Johnson and The Life of Writing. 1971. 
  • English Augustan Poetry. 1972. 
  • The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford University Press. 1975. pp. 384. ISBN 0195133323. 
  • The Ordeal of Alfred M. Hale: The Memoirs of a Soldier Servant. 1975.  editor
  • Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars. 1980. 
  • The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations. 1982. 
  • Sassoon's Long Journey. 1983.  editor, from The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston
  • Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Touchstone. 1992 [1983]. ISBN 978-0671792251. 
  • Caste Marks: Style and Status in the USA. 1984.  - this is the UK edition of Class
  • The Norton Book of Travel. 1987.  editor
  • Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays. 1988. 
  • Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. Oxford University Press. 1989. pp. 352. ISBN 978-0195065770. 
  • BAD -- Or, The Dumbing of America. 1991. 
  • The Bloody Game: An Anthology of Modern War. 1991. 
  • The Norton Book of Modern War. 1991.  editor
  • The Anti-Egotist. Kingsley Amis: Man of Letters. 1994. 
  • Doing Battle - The Making of a Skeptic. 1996.  autobiography
  • Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear. 2002. 
  • The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945. 2003. 

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Hello to all that", Susanna Rustin, The Guardian, 31 July 2004
  2. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?rank=1&new=1&MSAV=0&msT=1&gss=angs-g&gsfn=paul&gsln=fussell&_81004010=1924&msbpn=68368&msbpn__ftp=Pasadena%2c+California%2c+USA&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=89998053&recoff=1+2&db=1930usfedcen&indiv=1, Accessed 10-4-2009.
  3. Fussell, R. (2005). Mammoir: A pictorial odyssey of the adventures of a fourth grade teacher with breast cancer AuthorHouse.
  4. Fussell, S. W. (1991). Muscle : Confessions of an unlikely bodybuilder. New York: New York : Poseidon Press.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Fussell P: Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic, Little Brown & Co., New York, NY, 1996.
  6. Rustin, S. (2004, Saturday 31 July 2004). Hello to all that. The Guardian, Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/jul/31/featuresreviews.guardianreview10
  7. Fussell, B. H. (1999). My kitchen wars. New York: New York : North Point Press.
  8. Rustin, S. (2004, Saturday 31 July 2004). Hello to all that. The Guardian, Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/jul/31/featuresreviews.guardianreview10
  9. Fussell, P., (1996). Doing battle : The making of a skeptic. Boston: Boston : Little, Brown and Co.
  10. Fussell, P., (1996). Doing battle : The making of a skeptic. Boston: Boston : Little, Brown and Co.
  11. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1965). Poetic meter and poetic form. New York: New York, Random House.
  12. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1971). Samuel Johnson and the life of writing. New York: New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
  13. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1994). The anti-egotist : Kingsley amis, man of letters. New York: New York : Oxford University Press.
  14. Fussell, P., 1924-. (2000). The great war and modern memory. Oxford ; New York; Oxford %3B New York: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press.
  15. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1983). Class : A guide through the american status system. New York: New York : Summit Books.
  16. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1988). Thank god for the atom bomb and other essays. New York: New York : Summit Books.
  17. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1989). Wartime : Understanding and behavior in the second world war. New York: New York : Oxford University Press.
  18. Fussell, P., 1924-. (1996). Doing battle : The making of a skeptic. Boston: Boston : Little, Brown and Co.
  19. Fussell, P., 1924-. (2003). The boys' crusade the american infantry in northwestern europe, 1944-1945. New York: New York : Modern Library.
  20. "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. http://www.rslit.org/content/fellows. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 

External linksEdit

From his bunker in princeton, n.j., a wounded literary guerrilla shoots back at the 20th century. People Magazine


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