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Johnson, Denis

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1949-2017) US author, born in Germany, and raised in various countries where his father, in the American State Department, was stationed; he began to publish poetry in the late 1960s. His first novel, Angels (1983), has no fantastic element, but his second, Fiskadoro (1985), is set in Post-Holocaust Key West after a period of Nuclear Winter, where an aged inhabitant confuses the desolation of America with Vietnam, where she had lived during the US action; as for the future, she and her co-survivors await one or another incarnation of God, Who will make sense of things. Resuscitation of a Hanged Man (1991) does not engage in a literal rebirth; but Already Dead: A California Gothic (1997) can – at points – be read as a literal description of the final shore of America (see California) as a land of the dead. The poems assembled in The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New (coll 1995) underscore a sense that apocalypse-drenched Religion permeates Johnson's work as a whole. In 2017, after his death, he was announced as a winner of the Prize for American Fiction, a life achievement award given by the Library of Congress. [JC]

Denis Hale Johnson

born Munich, Germany: 1 July 1949

died Gualala, California: 24 May 2017

works (selected)


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