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 Tobias Wolff is also an award-winning writer.


Geoffrey Wolff was born in Hollywood, California, as the first son to "Duke" Arthur Samuels and Rosemary (née Loftus) Wolff. He is the older brother of the novelist and memoirist Tobias Wolff. Their parents separated when Geoffrey was twelve, his brother living with their mother, and Geoffrey with their father; their parents eventually divorced. He has described the adventure of his upbringing with his father on the East Coast in an acclaimed memoir, The Duke of Deception (1979), which was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. (Tobias has treated with similar candor his own years with their mother in a memoir, This Boy's Life, published in 1989.)[2]

Geoffrey Wolff was educated at the Choate School, graduating in 1955; at Princeton, graduating summa cum laude in 1960; and at Churchill College, Cambridge University. He has taught at Robert College (now Boğaziçi University) in Istanbul, Turkey; at Princeton, and at the University of California, Irvine. There 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.

Wolff 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]

Partial bibliography[edit]


  • Bad Debts (1969)
  • The Sightseer (1974)
  • Inklings (1977)
  • Providence (1985)
  • The Final Club (1990), set at Princeton University (ISBN 978-0394578200)
  • The Age of Consent (1995)


  • The Edge of Maine (2005), a travel portrait
  • The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father (1979), a memoir
  • A Day at the Beach: Recollections (1992), essays


  • Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby (1976)
  • The Art of Burning Bridges: A Life of John O'Hara (2003)
  • The Hard Way Around: The Passages of Joshua Slocum (2010)

As editor[edit]

  • The Edward Hoagland Reader (1979)


  1. ^ "Berthold Leibinger Fellow, Class of Spring 2007". American Academy in Berlin. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Prose, Francine (February 5, 1989). "The Brothers Wolff". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Lacy Crawford, "Geoffrey Wolff: An Interview," Narrative Magazine, Winter 2005;

External links[edit]