The Floating Opera and The End Of The Road are John Barth's first two novels. Their relationship to each other is evident not only in their ribald subject matter but in the eccentric characters and bitterly humorous tone of the narratives. Both concern strange, consuming love triangles and the destructive effect of an overactive intellect on the emotions. Separately they give two very different views of a universal human drama. Together they illustrate the beginnings of an illustrious career.
About the Author
John Barth was born on May 27, 1930, in Cambridge, Maryland. As a student at Johns Hopkins University he was fascinated by Oriental tale-cycles and medieval collections, a body of literature that would later influence his own writing. He received his BA from Johns Hopkins in 1951 and his MA in 1952. He has held professorships at Pennsylvania State University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Boston University, and taught in the English and creative writing programs at Johns Hopkins. Barth's first novel, The Floating Opera (1956), was nominated for the National Book Award. The End of the Road (1958) was also critically praised. In 1960, The Sot-Weed Factor--a comic historical novel--established Barth's reputation. Giles Goat-Boy (1966) was a huge critical and commercial success, after which he revised and republished his first three novels. Lost in the Funhouse, a book of interconnected stories, earned him a second nomination for the National Book Award. His other works are Chimera (1972), a collection of three novellas, which won the National Book Award; Letters (1979), an epistolary novel; Sabbatical: A Romance (1982); and The Friday Book (1984), a collection of essays.