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Passings : George Garrett

Prolific author had varied career

June 04, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

George Garrett, 78, the author of more than 30 books of fiction, poetry, biography and criticism, including an acclaimed trilogy of historical novels set in Elizabethan England, died May 26 of bladder cancer at his home in Charlottesville, Va.

Garrett retired in 2000 from the University of Virginia as the Henry Hoyns professor of creative writing. He earlier had directed the school's creative writing department.

In a multifaceted career, he was regarded by his admirers as a classic man of letters. He wrote poetry, short stories and novels across many genres, including a political drama set in modern Florida ("The Finished Man," 1961) and a Southern gothic tale of a revivalist preacher ("Do, Lord, Remember Me," 1965).

He wrote his Elizabethan trilogy -- "Death of the Fox," "The Succession" and "Entered From the Sun" -- over three decades, beginning in 1971.

Garrett was a notably good-humored man who treasured the "Golden Turkey" award bestowed on "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster," a 1965 B-movie he co-wrote.

George Palmer Garrett Jr. was born June 11, 1929, in Orlando, Fla. After graduating from Princeton in 1952, he spent several years in the Army as a field artillery sergeant in Trieste, Italy, an experience that provided the subject and locale of his 1961 novel, "Which Ones Are the Enemy?"

He returned to Princeton to complete his master's in English in 1956 and received his doctorate decades later, after the university accepted parts of his Elizabethan trilogy as his thesis.

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