Paul Fussell

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Paul Fussell, Ph.D.
Lt. Paul Fussell in Paris, France, May 1945
Born (1924-03-22)22 March 1924
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Died 23 May 2012(2012-05-23) (aged 88)
Medford, Oregon, U.S.
Residence Portland, Oregon
Nationality American
Alma mater Pomona College (B.A.),
Harvard University (MA), (Ph.D.)
Occupation Educator; Historian; Social critic; Author
Years active 1951 – 2003
Spouse(s) Betty Fussell
(1949-1981; divorced),
Harriette Behringer
(?-2012; his death)
Children Rosalind Fussell,
Samuel Wilson Fussell
Awards Purple Heart; Bronze Star; National Book Award; National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, and Ralph Waldo Emerson Award

Paul Fussell (March 22, 1924 – May 23, 2012) was an American cultural and literary historian, author, writer, and university professor.

Early life[change | change source]

Fussell was born in Pasadena, California on March 22, 1924. He was the second of three children. His father, Paul Fussell (1895–1973), son of a widowed schoolteacher, became a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles with the firm of O’Melveny & Myers. His mother, Wilhma Wilson Sill (1893–1971), was the daughter of a carriage trimmer in Illinois.

His brother, Edwin Sill Fussell, was an author, poet, and professor of American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. His sister Florence Fussell Lind lives in Berkeley, California.

Education and World War II[change | change source]

Fussell studied at Pomona College and at Harvard University. After he graduated, he served in World War II from 1943 until a year after the war ended in 1946. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart. After the war, he taught at Connecticut College (1951–55) before moving to Rutgers University in 1955 and finally the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. He also taught at the University of Heidelberg (1957–58) and at King’s College London (1990–92).

Personal Life and death[change | change source]

He was married to Betty Fussell in 1949. The couple had two children, and divorced in 1981. He later was married to Harriette Behringer until his death in 2012. On May 23, 2012, Fussell died in Portland, Oregon of Parkinson's disease at age 88.[1]

Awards and honors[change | change source]

Fussell's 1975 book The Great War and Modern Memory won the National Book Award in category Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa. It was ranked number 75 in the Modern Library Board's List of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century.

In 1977, Fussell was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He won the 2005 Hessell-Tiltman Prize for The Boys' Crusade. Fussell was one of the veterans interviewed in the 2007 Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The War, and in the 1999 ABC-produced documentary The Century: America's Time.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Literary scholar Paul Fussell dead at 88". Associated Press. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 

Other websites[change | change source]