Jonathan Bayliss

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Jonathan Bayliss (September 7, 1926, Arlington, Massachusetts - April 15, 2009, Gloucester, Massachusetts) was an American novelist and playwright who lived and wrote in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was a close friend of poet Charles Olson after Olson's return to Gloucester in the late 1950s. Bayliss's highly innovative and polymathic novels employ a vast vocabulary, contain mathematical and philosophical puzzles, and avoid pop culture references in favor of historical and mythological allusions.


Bayliss's Gloucesterman tetralogy explores the concepts of mythology and ritual throughout history; the value of collective human endeavor to society; the tension between the mysteries of art and science; and the degradation of culture through economic exploitation. Gloucesterbook and its sequel Gloucestertide create a fiction-world out of Gloucester similar to the Wessex of Thomas Hardy. The introductory volume Prologos was published in 1999. The final volume of the tetralogy, Gloucestermas, was published by Fontis Press in 2010.


  • Gloucesterbook (Protean Press, Rockport MA 1992)
  • Gloucestertide (Protean Press, Rockport MA 1996)
  • Prologos (Basilicum Press, Ashburnham MA 1999)
  • Gloucestermas (Fontis Press, Westborough, MA 2010)

External links[edit]

  • Writings of Jonathan Bayliss Bayliss's website featuring all of his novels (except Gloucestermas) freely available for download.
  • Drawbridge Press Publication information for Gloucestermas
  • The Gilgamesh Plays Bayliss's other website featuring both of his Gilgamesh plays freely available for download.
  • Jonathan Bayliss 1926 - 2009 This is the transcription of a eulogy delivered on April 27, 2009, at a memorial service for Bayliss, at St. John's Episcopal Church in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was written by Peter Anastas and could also be described as a "memoir of a friendship".