American academicDied when: 86 years 164 days (1037 months)
Star Sign: Cancer
Richard Stang (July 3, 1925 – December 14, 2011) was an American literary critic, author, scholar, and professor whose groundbreaking insights on the nineteenth-century English novel have shaped the attitudes of subsequent writers and critics for more than five decades.
He was the first critic to recognize and document the sophistication of contemporary mid-Victorian criticism of the novel, and to show that it in effect amounted to a holistic aesthetics of fiction for the English novel in the mid-century.
Published simultaneously in New York and London in 1959, Stang’s Theory of the Novel in England 1850-1870, was hailed by Wayne Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction as "A systematic, impressive study uncovering 'modern' doctrines about fiction in forgotten publications before James." Stang's subsequent books on George Eliot and Ford Madox Ford, along with key articles and essays, further extended his cogent questioning and correcting of widely held critical assumptions about the art of fiction.
As a professor of Victorian studies and 19th century literature at Washington University in St.Louis, where he taught for more than 35 years, Stang was an integral member of a vital literary community that included novelists Stanley Elkin and William Gass, poets Howard Nemerov, Mona Van Duyn, Donald Finkel, and John Morris, and editor and publisher of Perspective Jarvis Thurston.