Reynolds Price (1933-2011). Courtesy NNDB.

Reynolds Price
Born Edward Reynolds Price
February 1, 1933(1933-Template:MONTHNUMBER-01)
Macon, North Carolina
Died Janurary 20, 2011(2011-Template:MONTHNUMBER-20) (aged 77)
Durham, North Carolina
Nationality United States American
Alma mater Duke University
Occupation Author and Professor

Edward Reynolds Price (February 1, 1933 - January 20, 2011), was an American poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist, and academic.


Price was born in Macon, North Carolina. After attending public schools of his native state, he went to Duke University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1955.

Afterward, he went to Merton College, Oxford, for 3 years as a Rhodes scholar, and wrote a book about life at Oxford, called The Source of Light. While at Oxford, Price formed important friendships with poets W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender as well as biographer Lord David Cecil, which helped to spur his writing career on.

He began teaching at Duke shortly after completing his Rhodes scholarship in the late 1950s, , becoming the James B. Duke professor of English at Duke. For more than 40 years Price taught a class on Milton; his former students included writers Josephine Humphreys and Anne Tyler, along with actress Annabeth Gish.

Apart from English literature, Price had a lifelong interest in ancient languages and Biblical scholarship.

Reynolds Price Timeline

Created by Nick142. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

His earliest short stories were published in Duke's student literary periodical, Archive. Eudora Welty also helped Price get his earliest of books published; she sent an early story of his, "Michael Egerton" to her own publisher. Price's debut book though was not a collection of stories; it was a novel entitled A Long and Happy Life. His other books include his memoir Clear Pictures, and his novels The Tongues of Angels, Blue Calhoun, Kate Vaiden, Roxanna Slade and The Great Circle. The Good Priest's Son, published in 2005, is an account of a 9/11 experience.

In 1984, Price was diagnosed with a malignant spinal tumor. It was treated with radiation therapy, which left him cancer-free but paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.

Price employed a beginning writer a year, in a sort of private fellowship: in exchange for tending to his daily needs, the young poet or prose writer received room and board and time to write. He wrote about his experience as a cancer survivor in his memoir, A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing.[1]

Price was a favorite author of Bill Clinton, who invited him to dinner at the White House early in his 1st term. Price wrote the lyrics to 2 songs by James Taylor, "Copperline" and "New Hymn". Price's book, Feasting The Heart (2000), is a collection of controversial and personal essays, originally broadcast to great acclaim on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

Price died January 20, 2011, after suffering a heart attack 5 days earlier.


Price was a Southern writer. All his books are set in the South and more particularly in his native North Carolina. Price once replied when asked why he chose to remain in North Carolina: "It's the place about which I have perfect pitch." Price has cited Southern writer Eudora Welty as one of his early influences. He has also been noted for his sexually frank writing, and the ambiguous nature of his own sexuality; Price did not write publicly about being gay until his third memoir, Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, published in 2009.


Price received numerous literary honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and the William Faulkner Foundation Award.

He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 memoir Clear Pictures.

He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



  • Lessons Learned: Seven poems. New York: Albondocani Press, 1977.
  • The Annual Heron. New York : Albondocani Press, 1980.
  • Vital Provisions. New York: Atheneum, 1982.
  • The Laws of Ice. New York: Atheneum, 1986.
  • The Use of Fire. New York: Atheneum / Maxwell Macmillan / Toronto: Collier Macmillan, 1990.
  • The Collected Poems. New York: Scribner, 1997.


  • Early Dark: A play. New York: Atheneum, 1977.
  • Private Conentment: A play. New York: Atheneum, 1984.
  • August Snow. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1990.
  • New Music: A trilogy. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1990.
  • Full Moon, and other plays. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993.


  • A Long and Happy Life. New York: Atheneum, 1962.
  • A Generous Man. New York: Atheneum, 1966.
  • Love and Work. New York: Atheneum, 1968.
  • Mustian: Two novels and a story, complete and unabridged. New York: Atheneum, 1983.
  • Kate Vaiden. New York: Atheneum, 1986.
  • Good Hearts. New York: Atheneum, 1988.
  • The Tongues of Angels. New York: Atheneum, 1990.
  • Blue Calhoun. New York: Atheneum / New York & Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan, 1992.
  • Roxanna Slade. New York: Scribner, 1998.
  • A Singular Family: Rosacoke and her kin. New York: Scribner, 1999.
  • Noble Norfleet. New York: Scribner, 2002.
  • The Good Priest's Son. New York: Scribner, 2005.

Great Circle trilogyEdit

  • The Surface of Earth. New York: Atheneum, 1975.
  • The Source of Light. New York: Atheneum, 1981.
  • The Promise of Rest. New York: Scribner, 1995.
  • A Great Circle: The Mayfield trilogy. New York: Scribner, 2001.

Short fictionEdit

  • The Names and Faces of Heroes. New York: Atheneum, 1963.
  • Permanent Errors. New York: Atheneum, 1970.
  • Home Made. Rocky Mount, NC: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1990.
  • The Foreseeable Future. New York: Atheneum / New York & Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan, 1991.
  • An Early Christmas. Rocky Mount, NC: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1992.
  • The Collected Stories. New York: Atheneum / New York & Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan, 1993.


  • Things Themselves: Essays and scenes. New York: Atheneum, 1972.
  • Conversations: Reynolds Price and William Ray. Memphis, TN: Memphis State University, 1976.
  • A Common Room: Essays, 1954-1987. New York: Atheneum, 1987.
  • Real Copies : Will Price, Crichton Davis, Phyllis Peacock, and more. Rocky Mount, NC: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1988.
  • Clear Pictures: First loves, first guides. New York: Atheneum, 1989.
  • Conversations with Reynolds Price (edited by Jefferson Humphries). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1991.
  • A Whole New Life. New York: Atheneum / New York & Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan, 1994.
  • Letter to a Man in the Fire: Does God exist and does He care? New York: Scribner, 1999.
  • Feasting the Heart: Fifty-two commentaries for the air. New York: Scribner, 2000.
  • A Serious Way of Wondering: The ethics of Jesus imagined. New York: Scribner, 2003.
  • Introduction to The Complete Stories of Truman Capote. New York: Random House, 2004.
  • Letter to a Godchild: Concerning faith. New York: Scribner, 2006.
  • Ardent Spirits: Leaving home, coming back. New York: Scribner, 2009.
  • Midstream: An unfinished memoir. New York: Scribner, 2012.


  • A Perfect Friend. New York: Atheneum, 2000.


  • A Palpable God: Thirty stories translated from the Bible: with an essay on the origins and life of narrative. New York: Atheneum, 1978.
  • Three Gospels. New York: Atheneum, 1996.


Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]

Audio / video Edit

James Taylor Reynolds Price "New Hymn" Roots Revival cover

James Taylor Reynolds Price "New Hymn" Roots Revival cover

  • Reynolds Price (cassette). Columbia, MO: American Audio Prose Library, 1982.[2]
  • An Evening with Reynolds Price. San Francisco: City Arts & Lectures, 2000.[2]

See alsoEdit



  1. Price, Reynolds. A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing. New York: Scribner, 2003.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Search results = au:Reynolds Price, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Jan. 18, 2015.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
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