Edward Hoagland 1932–
American essayist, travel writer, and novelist.
Hoagland is considered by many critics to be a gifted and versatile essayist. Although many of his works are factual chronicles of his travels through America and foreign lands, he writes freely, inserting many digressions and asides. His method results in essays which are individualistic, loosely structured, and which move easily from one subject to another, often within a single paragraph. Some critics find Hoagland's technique distracting, while others contend that his digressions add relevance and variety to his objective observations. Most critics admire Hoagland's virtuosity. His keen eye for details, his ability to convey a precise sense of place, and his enthusiasm for all that he encounters are revealed in his dramatic metaphors and creative phrasing.
Although his subjects vary widely, many critics believe that Hoagland writes best about animals. Whether discussing caged circus animals, as in his first novel, Cat Man (1956), wild creatures from the backlands of British Columbia, as in Notes from the Century Before (1969), trivia about turtles, as in an essay from the collection The Courage of Turtles (1970), or superstition and lore about bears and wolves, as in Red Wolves and Black Bears (1976), Hoagland deftly combines realism and romanticism in his compassionate and detailed descriptions. In addition to Cat Man, Hoagland has published two other novels, The Circle Home (1960) and The Peacock's Tail (1965), which are generally considered less successful than his essays.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 2; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 6.)