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Cassill, R(onald) V(erlin) 1919-2002

CASSILL, R(onald) V(erlin) 1919-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 17, 1919, in Cedar Falls, IA; died March 25, 2002, in Providence, RI. Educator, editor, and author. Cassill was a respected novelist, short story writer, and editor who, through his classes at the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop and at Brown University and with his textbook On Writing, inspired many others to follow his footsteps. A graduate of the University of Iowa, where he earned a B.A. in 1939, Cassill served in the U.S. Army during World War II before returning to his university to receive his master's degree in 1947. Cassill then earned a living through a combination of writing, teaching, and editing. From 1946 to 1948 he was an instructor at Monticello College before returning to the University of Iowa as a writing instructor from 1948 to 1952 and again during the early 1960s. Between stints in Iowa, he lectured at such universities as Columbia and the New School for Social Research (now New School University), concluding his career at Brown University where he was an English professor from 1966 until 1983, and a professor emeritus thereafter. Cassill also worked as a book reviewer for such publications as the Chicago Sun Times and Book Week, was an editor for Collier's Encyclopedia during the mid-1950s, and for Dude and Gent magazines in 1958. As a writer, Cassill's work ranged from sexy potboilers to more complex studies of moral dilemmas, with his most acclaimed novel being Doctor Cobb's Game, which was loosely based on the Profumo sex scandal in England. At his best, Cassill was compared by some critics to such luminaries as Norman Mailer, and even his less ambitious work demonstrates a marked sensitivity to his craft and a strong moral sensibility. His oeuvre contains two dozen novels, including The Eagle on the Coin, A Taste of Sin, My Sister's Keeper, The President, Flame, and After Goliath, six short-story collections, including The Father, and Other Stories and Collected Stories, and edited publications such as The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. Cassill put writing aside in 1985, believing he had "used up" his gift. In addition to his writing, Cassill was also an artist who had his work displayed at such exhibits as the Eleanor Smith Galleries in Chicago and the Wickersham Gallery in New York City.



Writers Directory, 16th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Chicago Tribune, April 2, 2002, section 2, p. 9.

New York Times, April 1, 2002, p. A21.

Times (London), April 7, 2002.

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