Austin Wright

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Austin Wright
BornSeptember 6, 1922
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 23, 2003(2003-04-23) (aged 80)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • literary critic
  • professor
  • author
GenreFiction, criticism
Notable worksTony and Susan, Camden's Eyes, Recalcitrance, Faulkner and the Professors, The Morley Mythology, Telling Time, After Gregory, Disciples, First Persons, The Formal Principle in the Novel
Notable awardsWhiting Award
SpouseSara Hull Wright
ChildrenKatharine, Joanna, Margaret
RelativesJohn Kirtland Wright, Austin Tappan Wright, John Henry Wright, Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Mary Tappan Wright

Austin McGiffert Wright (1922 – April 23, 2003) was an American novelist, literary critic and professor emeritus of English at the University of Cincinnati.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Wright was born in Yonkers, New York. He grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the son of the geographer John Kirtland Wright and Katharine McGiffert Wright, and namesake of his uncle, Austin Tappan Wright, writer of the utopian novel, Islandia. His paternal grandparents were classical scholar John Henry Wright and novelist Mary Tappan Wright. He graduated from Harvard University in 1943. He served in the Army (1943–1946). He graduated from the University of Chicago, with a master's degree in 1948, and a Ph.D. in 1959.

He married Sara Hull Wright, in 1950. They had three children: Joanna Wright (died 2000), Katharine Wright of Berkeley, CA, and Margaret Wright, and two granddaughters, Madeline Giscombe and Elizabeth Perkins.

Austin Wright was a professor in the English Department at the University of Cincinnati for almost forty years. His classes in modern literature and creative writing were especially appreciated by graduate students, and his seminars were always fully enrolled. Wright was interested in the technical aspects of good writing, and he liked to have his students dissect novels under a microscope, so to speak, almost as if they were a species of life whose whole DNA could be gradually ferreted out.

Wright’s own novels also grew out of these proto-scientific concerns, and his plots often have the appearance of puzzles meant to be “solved.” His prose, however, has been regarded as a graceful and mellifluous instrument, and his insights into the relationships of women and men, perhaps the major subject of his work, often verging on the comic and ironic, are much admired.[citation needed]

Wright died in 2003 in Cincinnati. When he died, he had realized certain proceeds from the sale of movie rights to this book, but he had no reason to believe that a film would actually be made. His novel Tony and Susan was re-issued, and became a major film, Nocturnal Animals (2016).




  • Camden's Eyes Doubleday, 1969
  • First Persons: A Novel. Harper & Row. 1973. ISBN 978-0-06-014759-4.
  • The Morley Mythology. Harper & Row. 1977. ISBN 978-0-06-014751-8.
  • Recalcitrance, Faulkner, and the Professors: A Critical Fiction. University of Iowa Press. 1990. ISBN 978-0-87745-301-7.
  • Tony and Susan. Baskerville. 1993. ISBN 978-1-880909-01-0. reissue. Atlantic Books. 2010. ISBN 978-1-84887-021-5. (review [1])
  • After Gregory: A Novel. Baskerville Publishers. 1994. ISBN 978-1-880909-12-6.
  • Telling Time: A Novel. Baskerville Publishers. 1995. ISBN 978-1-880909-36-2.
  • Disciples. Baskerville Publishers. 1997. ISBN 978-1-880909-55-3.


  • The American short story in the twenties, University of Chicago Press, 1961
  • John Leeds Barroll; Austin McGiffert Wright, eds. (1969). The art of the short story: an introductory anthology. Allyn and Bacon.
  • Formal Principle in the Novel. Cornell University Press. 1982. ISBN 978-0-8014-1462-6.


  1. ^ Rebecca Goodman (April 30, 2003). "Obituary: Austin M. Wright, 80, writer, teacher". The Cincinnati Enquirer.

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