To paraphrase one of his own titles, John Irving might be described as “A Son of New England”. In addition to the maintenance of a home there even while he studied and taught outside the region, his fiction has drawn deeply on his family's extensive involvement with the cultural landscape of the territory, while the psychic settings of the novels which have essentially defined his sensibility are intricately dependent on its intellectual and social milieu. When he first told his parents at fourteen that he wanted to become a writer, they advised, “Well, your grandfather is a writer. You should read his books”, establishing a direct connection to a vibrant intellectual heritage.

Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire,…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Lewis, Leon. "John Irving". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 April 2005
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]