NEW YORK — Writers William Styron, James Dickey and the late Joseph Campbell have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the nation's highest honor society for literature and the fine arts, it was announced Monday.
Stanley Kunitz, secretary of the congressionally chartered organization, said that Styron will occupy the seat held most recently by writers Lillian Hellman and Erskine Caldwell and that Dickey will take the chair previously held by artist Raphael Soyer and writer John Steinbeck.
The academy is limited to 50 members, selected from the membership of the 250-member National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Styron, 62, is best known for his novels "Sophie's Choice" and "The Confessions of Nat Turner," for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Dickey, 63, is author of 19 volumes of poetry including "Buckdancer's Choice," a National Book Award winner, the novels "Deliverance" and "Alnilam" and several books of criticism and essays.
The academy also elected to membership writer-anthropologist Campbell, 83, author of "The Hero With a Thousand Faces," "The Mask of God," "The Inner Regions of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion," but Campbell died Oct. 31 after the election. At his death, he was working on completion of "Historical Atlas of World Mythology, the first volume of which was published in 1983.
Campbell's seat was previously occupied by novelist Glenway Wescott.