Gordon Lish and His Influence on Twentieth-Century American Literature: Life and Times of Captain Fiction
This will be the first book-length critical study of Gordon Lish's work as a writer and his influence on contemporary fiction as both an editor and writer. Indeed, there is little scholarly work on Lish, which seems to be wanting, as he is often cited in academic articles about some of the major writers he helped shape--Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo, Barry Hannah, Amy Hempel, Harold Brodkey, Nancy Leamann, and many others. This study examines his novels and short stories, how they relate to his teaching and the philosophies of writing that he propounded as an editor and teacher, and where these works are placed in the cannon of contemporary American fiction. This study also closely examines some of the major writers whose careers he helped to shape, as well as some of the "lesser" writers under his thumb who have carved a special niche for themselves in today's literary landscape. Overall, this study places Gordon Lish as an important, and inevitable, influence on later twentieth-century American fiction and the minimalist movement that is still going strong.