Nicholson Baker is an American novelist and essayist, known for his inventive and lavishly descriptive prose. His reputation is a complex and even somewhat contradictory one, in that it rests, on the one hand, upon his fixation with seemingly trivial subject matters and, on the other, upon the significant controversy aroused by much of his work. His critical reputation is that of a supreme prose stylist, and many commentators have remarked that, though his books (aside from two non-fiction books and a collection of essays,

The Size of Thoughts

(1997)) tend to be presented as fiction, he is essentially an essayist. The novelist John Banville, for instance, reviewing

Room Temperature


The Irish Times

, commended Baker’s luminous prose, comparing it to that of both Nabokov and Joyce, but…

2934 words

Citation: O'Connell, Mark. "Nicholson Baker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 September 2010 [, accessed 22 June 2024.]

5216 Nicholson Baker 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.