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Philip Wylie (Philip Gordon Wylie) Biography

(1902–71), (Philip Gordon Wylie), Salt Water Daffy, Crunch and Des, Generation of Vipers

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Woking Surrey to Æ

American writer, born in Beverly, Massachusetts, educated at Princeton. His collections of Florida fishing tales such as Salt Water Daffy (1941) and Crunch and Des (1948) are among his more amiable works. More savage, and more typical, are Generation of Vipers (1942), an attack on ‘momism’; An Essay on Morals (1947), a dyspeptic analysis of conventional religion; and Opus 21 (1949), a discourse on repressive sexual mores. His novels ranged across several genres, but a consistent humanitarianism marks them all, from Gladiator (1930), a science fiction tale that prefigured Superman, to Finnley Wren (1934), an experimental ‘novel in a new manner’. When Worlds Collide (1933; with Edwin Balmer) presented a cosmic catastrophe, while The Answer (1956) saw love as the key to human survival; Night unto Night (1944) was a fantasy whose already dead cast are forced to confront their moral impostures; The Disappearance (1954) didactically posited two worlds, from one of which all men have disappeared, and from the other all women; while The End of the Dream (1972) addressed with icy melancholy issues of planetary pollution.

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