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William Wharton (pseudonym) Biography

(1925– ), Franky Furbo, Last Lovers, Birdy, Dad, Scumbler, Tidings

American writer, born in Philadelphia, educated at the University of California, Los Angeles. A reclusive artist, resident in France, Wharton wished to conceal his name and used the pseudonym ‘William Wharton’ for his writing. Only with the publication of Franky Furbo (1989), dedicated to a daughter killed in a highway accident, did he emerge from obscurity to bring attention to her death; Last Lovers (1991) is shadowed throughout by his loss. His first two novels, Birdy (1979) and Dad (1981), both filmed, are his best-known, and together provide an agenda for his work as a whole, which can be seen as an assertion of the holiness of the creative self against the incursions of a deranging world. The ‘insanity’ of Birdy, and the declamatory self-concern of the protagonists of novels like Scumbler (1984) and Tidings (1987), are indicative of this concern. Later novels, such as Franky Furbo and Last Lovers, confirm Wharton as a writer who speaks with a compelling and humane fervour.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robert Penn Warren Biography to Kenneth White Biography