American Gadfly

The Intellectual Odyssey of Paul Fussell


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About the Book

The American cultural historian, literary and social critic and college professor Paul Fussell (1924–2012) is primarily noted for his famous work The Great War and Modern Memory, but he also wrote and edited 21 books on a wide variety of topics, ranging from 18th century British literature to works on World War II and sardonic critiques of American society and culture. This book offers a thorough introduction to his writings and thought, and argues for Fussell’s importance and relevancy. Covering Fussell’s traumatic experience in World War II and the important influence it had on his life and outlook, this intellectual biography puts in context Fussell’s perspectives on ethics, the human experience, war, and literature as an evaluative and critical endeavor.

About the Author(s)

Ronald R. Gray has taught English at universities in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China. He lives in Gongju, South Korea.

Bibliographic Details

Ronald R. Gray
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7211-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3761-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. “The Extirpation of Boy Fussell” 5
2. “In the Eighteenth Century I Found It” 17
3. Oh! What a Lovely Book! 32
4. “It Is Simply Part of One’s Life” 68
5. An Essayist at Heart 81
6. Sheer, Vulgar Experience and the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb 93
7. “A Touchy Subject”: Class in America 107
8. “The Real War Will Never Get in the Books” 121
9. The BADness of American Culture 135
10. The War Continues: An Anthology, Introduction and Lectures 145
11. Defending “Not a Very Nice Fellow” 158
12. The Autobiography of a Natural Warrior 165
13. A Book about Appearances and Belonging 179
14. A Final Look at the “Good War” 186
15. The Power of Facing Unpleasant Truths 200
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 223
Index 229