Short Literary Biography


In l961, Random House published David Madden’s first novel, The Beautiful Greed, based on his Merchant seaman experiences. For Warner Brothers, he adapted his second novel, Cassandra Singing, to the screen (not yet produced). The Shadow Knows, a book of stories, won a National Council on the Arts Award, judged by Hortense Calisher and Walker Percy. His second collection, The New Orleans of Possibilities, appeared in 1982. His stories have been reprinted in numerous college textbooks and twice in Best American Short Stories. A Rockefeller Grant, recommended by Robert Penn Warren and Saul Bellow, enabled him to work in Venice and Yugoslavia on his third novel, Bijou, a 1974 Book of the Month Club Alternate Selection. His best-known novel, The Suicide’s Wife, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and made into a CBS movie. Pleasure-Dome, On the Big Wind, and Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War are his most recent novels. He has finished a short novel, Abducted By Circumstance, and is finishing the third novel in30 a trilogy London Bridge in Plague and Fire.

His poems and short stories have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from Redbook and Playboy to The Southern Review and Botteghe Oscure. His plays have won many state and national contests; several have been published.

Among his works of literary criticism are: Wright Morris, A Primer of the Novel [major revision published in 2006], Harlequin’s Stick, Charlie’s Cane, James M. Cain, Revising Fiction, and two collections of his literary essays, The Poetic Image in Six Genres and Touching the Web of Southern Novelists (summer 2006).

He has published essays on Albert Camus, James Joyce, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter, Katherine Mansfield, Michel Tournier, William Gaddis, Jules Romains, Emily Bronte, Edward Albee, Graham Greene, Richard Wilbur, Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, Joseph Conrad, Eugene O’Neill, Ross Macdonald, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Wolfe, James Dickey, Ingmar Bergman, Ikira Kurasawa. Best-known of the many books of original critical essays he has edited are Tough Guy Writers of the Thirties, Proletarian Writers of the Thirties, Remembering James Agee, Nathanael West: The Cheaters and the Cheated, Rediscoveries [I and II], Classics of Civil War Fiction, Thomas Wolfe’s Civil War, and Loss of the Sultana and Reminiscences of the Survivors.

He has also edited several innovative textbooks: The Poplar Culture Explosion, Creative Choices, The World of Fiction, A Pocketful of Prose, eight other titles in the Pocketful series from Harcourt Brace, and Studies in the Short Story. He is a former assistant editor of The Kenyon Review and has served on the Advisory Board of several other literary magazines, including Journal of Narrative Theory.

He has given lectures at many conferences and dramatic readings from his fiction at over 100 colleges and universities. Writer-in-Residence at UNC-Chapel Hill, Clark University, Lynchburg College, among others, and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Delaware, he held the Chair of Excellence at Austin Peay State University. David Madden: A Writer for All Genres consists of original essays by scholars and creative writers on Madden’s writings.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1933, David Madden graduated from U-Tenn., served in the Army, earned an M.A. at San Francisco State, and attended Yale Drama School on a John Golden Fellowship. Writer-in-residence at LSU from 1968 to 1992, Director of the Creative Writing Program 1992-1994, Founding Director of the United States Civil War Center 1992-1999, he is now LSU Robert Penn Warren Professor of Creative Writing., Emeritus.


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