George Garrett Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

George Palmer Garrett, Jr., is known principally as a novelist and poet, but he also achieved recognition as playwright, screenwriter, reviewer, and literary critic. He was educated at Sewanee Military Academy and the Hill School. He entered Princeton University in 1947, receiving B.A. and M.A. degrees, and in 1985 he received his Ph.D. degree from Princeton. Garrett has had a distinguished career as teacher and scholar at Wesleyan University, Hollins College, the University of South Carolina, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia.

Garrett is best known for the historical novels Death of the Fox, which tells of the last days of Sir Walter Raleigh; The Succession, which chronicles the lives and times of Elizabeth I and her successor, James I; and Entered from the Sun, in which two bit players on the political scene—one a soldier, the other an actor—attempt to unravel the complicated death of Christopher Marlowe. Garrett’s knowledge of the Elizabethan period is encyclopedic, and his special interest is in the psychology and politics of the Elizabethans. The trilogy delves into the complex machinations of political power and influence in Elizabethan England as these affect both the wealthy and powerful and the common people. The result is a political, social, and psychological profile of one of the most glorious and violent ages of Western civilization.

In his other novels and in his short stories...

(The entire section is 548 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

George Palmer Garrett, Jr., was born on June 11, 1929, in Orlando, Florida, one of three children and the only son of George Palmer and Rosalie Toomer Garrett. He was graduated from Sewanee Military Academy in 1946 and prepped at the Hill School in 1946-1947 before entering Princeton University. He was graduated from there in 1952 magna cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his M.A. in English from Princeton University in 1956 with a thesis on the poetry of William Faulkner, a work of scholarship which is still read by scholars who want to know the early Faulkner. Garrett enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in 1950 and was soon called to two years of active duty in Yugoslavia and Austria, before finishing his M.A. Garrett completed all work for the doctorate except for the dissertation; Princeton accepted his novels Death of the Fox and The Succession as fulfilling the dissertation requirement and awarded him the Ph.D. in 1985. Active in teaching young writers, Garrett held teaching positions at a number of universities, including the University of South Carolina, Columbia University, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia. In 1984, he became the Hoyns Professor of English at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. In 1952, he married Susan Parrish Jackson; the marriage produced three children. Garrett died at his home in Virginia on May 25, 2008.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

George Palmer Garrett, Jr., was born in Orlando, Florida, in 1929, the son of George Palmer and Rosalie Roomer Garrett. He attended Sewanee Military Academy and the Hill School before entering Princeton University in 1947, from which he graduated with a B.A. degree in 1952, the year in which he also married Susan Parrish Jackson. The couple would have three children: William, George, and Alice. Garrett served in the U.S. Army before returning to Princeton for his master’s degree in 1956. In 1985, he was awarded a Ph.D. in literature from his alma mater. Garrett taught writing and literature and served as writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University, Rice University, the University of Virginia, Princeton, Hollins College, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Michigan.

Garrett’s death on May 25, 2008, was followed by an outpouring of tributes to his work from critics and fellow writers. Most praised two features of his long career: his constant and successful experimentations in the form and content of his fiction and his trenchant and sophisticated literary criticism. It is likely that a full assessment of his literary career—now in its nascent stages—will concentrate on these two elements of his work.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

The son of a lawyer, George Palmer Garrett, Jr., was born in Orlando, Florida, in 1929. His family included an uncle, Oliver Garrett, who wrote screenplays, including one for the 1930 “happy ending” adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick: Or, The Whale (1851), starring John Barrymore as Captain Ahab. George Garrett attended the Sewanee Military Academy in Sewanee, Tennessee, and then the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1947. In 1952, he received his B.A. from Princeton University and married Susan Parrish Jackson; an active writer at Princeton, he published poems and more than thirty-nine short stories in the college literary magazine. He left Princeton for one year to attend Columbia University from 1948 to 1949. For three years following graduation, Garrett was a field artillery sergeant in the U.S. Army, serving in Trieste, the setting for his 1961 novel, Which Ones Are the Enemy? He eventually received his M.A. (1956) and Ph.D. (1985)—on the basis of his trilogy of Elizabethan novels—from Princeton.

Garrett mentored and nurtured many young writers—including the poets Reynolds Price, Henry Taylor, and R. H. W. Dillard—over his distinguished and varied teaching career. From 1957 to 1960, he was an assistant professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He taught for one year as a visiting lecturer at Rice University before becoming an associate professor of English at...

(The entire section is 410 words.)