Skip to main content

Carver, Raymond

Raymond Carver, 1938–88, American short-story writer, b. Clatskanie, Oreg. He was raised in the Pacific Northwest, where he often set his sparely written tales of everyday blue-collar life. His personal struggles with poverty and alcoholism (he stopped drinking in 1977) also colored his work. Carver's stark, minimal narrative style, pared-down language, and episodic plot lines are particularly effective in capturing the gritty reality of his characters. Captured, too, is the ordinary yet often revelatory nature of his characters' experiences and the range of their emotions, which often include guilt, grief, hopelessness, and the effects of fading love. Nonetheless, his stories are frequently tinged with a biting humor. His story collections include Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976), What We Talk about When We Talk about Love (1981), Cathedral (1983), Where I'm Calling From (1988), and the posthumously published Call If You Need Me (2001). Some of Carver's stories were heavily edited by his editor and the changes that were made have been controversial, with some preferring the tighter prose and sometimes changed story lines of the edited versions and some favoring the denser and more expansive original texts. The varying versions can be found in Raymond Carver: Collected Stories (2009). Carver also wrote poetry, which was collected in such volumes as Where Water Comes Together with Other Water (1985) and In a Marine Light (1988).

See W. L. Stull and M. P. Carroll, Remembering Ray: A Composite Biography of Raymond Carver (1993); S. Halpert, ed., Raymond Carver: An Oral Biography (1995); C. Sklenicka, Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life (2009); M. B. Carver (his first wife), What It Used to Be Like (2006); studies by A. M. Saltzman (1988), E. Campbell (1992), R. P. Runyon (1992), A. Meyer (1994), K. Nesset (1995), A. F. Bethea (2001), H. Bloom, ed. (2002), G. P. Lainsbury (2004), S. Rubenstein (2005), and J. Zhou (2006).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Carver, Raymond." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 30 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Carver, Raymond." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 30, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/carver-raymond

"Carver, Raymond." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 30, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/carver-raymond

Carver, Raymond

Carver, Raymond (1938–88) US short story writer and poet. Carver's fiction depicts, with uncompromising realism, the lives of US citizens. His short stories are collected in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976), What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) and Cathedral (1983). He also wrote five books of poetry.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Carver, Raymond." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 30 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Carver, Raymond." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 30, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/carver-raymond

"Carver, Raymond." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 30, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/carver-raymond