Geoffrey Wolff

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Geoffrey Wolff (born 1937) is an American novelist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer. Among his honors and recognition are the Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1994) and fellowships of the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy in Berlin (2007),[1] and the Guggenheim Foundation. His younger brother is the writer Tobias Wolff.


Geoffrey Wolff was born in Hollywood, California, to Duke and Rosemary Wolff. His parents separated when he was twelve, his brother living with their mother and Geoffrey with their father. He has described the adventure of his upbringing in an acclaimed memoir of his father, The Duke of Deception (1979), which was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. (Wolff's brother Tobias has treated with similar candor his own upbringing with their mother in a memoir, This Boy's Life.)[2]

Geoffrey Wolff was educated at the Choate School, graduating in 1955; at Princeton (which he anatomized in his 1990 novel Final Club), graduating summa cum laude in 1960; and at Churchill College, Cambridge University. He has taught at Robert College (now Boğaziçi University) in Istanbul, at Princeton, and at the University of California, Irvine, where he was professor of English and comparative literature and, from 1995 to 2006, director of the influential Graduate Fiction Program. He has also been a book editor at the Washington Post and at Newsweek.

He is the author of six novels; biographies of Harry Crosby, John O'Hara, and Joshua Slocum; a volume of essays, and other works of non-fiction in several genres. He has edited a selection of Edward Hoagland's writings.

He lives in Bath, Maine, with his wife Priscilla.[3]

Principal works[edit]

  • Bad Debts (1969), a novel.
  • The Sightseer (1974), a novel.
  • Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby (1976), a biography
  • Inklings (1977), a novel
  • The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father (1979), a memoir
  • The Edward Hoagland Reader (1979), editor
  • Providence (1985), a novel
  • Final Club (1990), a novel
  • A Day at the Beach: Recollections (1992), essays
  • The Age of Consent (1995), a novel
  • The Art of Burning Bridges: A Life of John O'Hara (2003), a biography
  • The Edge of Maine (2005), a travel portrait
  • The Hard Way Around: The Passages of Joshua Slocum (2010), a biography


  1. ^ "Berthold Leibinger Fellow, Class of Spring 2007". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Francine Prose, "The Brothers Wolff," The New York Times Magazine, Feb. 5, 1989
  3. ^ Lacy Crawford, "Geoffrey Wolff: An Interview," Narrative Magazine, Winter 2005;

External links[edit]