The Fictional World of William Hoffman
edited by William L. Frank
University of Missouri Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-0-8262-1275-7 | eISBN: 978-0-8262-6219-6
Library of Congress Classification PS3558.O34638Z66 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54


Over the past forty-five years, William Hoffman has written eleven novels, including the critically acclaimed Tidewater Blood, winner of the Dashiell Hammett award, and four short-fiction collections, the most recent being Doors—all of which have enjoyed a loyal and appreciative readership. His work has received numerous honors, including the Andrew Nelson Lytle Prize for the best short story published in the Sewanee Review; the Jeanne C. Goodheart Prize for fiction, awarded by Shenandoah; and the Hillsdale Prize for fiction, awarded by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Yet a critical evaluation of his acclaimed fiction has not previously appeared.

The Fictional World of William Hoffman provides readers with the first vital and informative assessment of Hoffman's work. Including penetrating commentary and analysis from fellow writers—Fred Chappell, George Core, George Garrett, Dabney Stuart—as well as from established and emerging critics—Ron Buchanan, Martha Cook, Jeanne Nostrandt, Gordon Van Ness-this collection of essays aims to deepen the appreciation of those already familiar with Hoffman and to introduce new readers to one of the South's most influential voices.

George Core's opening essay provides an overview of Hoffman's novels to date, with sufficient examples to suggest his range, scope, imagery, and principal themes, including honor, courage, love, self-sacrifice, and the role of religion. The other essays in the collection focus in detail on his most admired work, especially the war novels, the short stories, and the philosophical novels of recent years. All eleven novels are covered briefly throughout the collection, six are treated extensively, and three essays focus on his short fiction.

There is no doubt that William Hoffman is a major contemporary writer. His considerable talent and influence have been felt by generations of readers. The Fictional World of William Hoffman helps to secure this influence for years to come. "As with all gifted and talented writers," Frank concludes, "the themes of Hoffman's fiction are what will endure."

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