Gilman, Richard 1925-2006

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Gilman, Richard 1925-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born April 30, 1925, in New York, NY; died of lung cancer, October 28, 2006, in Kusatsu, Japan. Critic, educator, and author. Gilman was a retired Yale drama professor and respected literary critic and editor. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in 1947; he also studied at the New School. Gilman bravely went from college straight to freelance writing. For the next several years, he contributed articles to publications such as Commonweal and the New Republic. From 1954 to 1957, he found regular work as an associate editor for Jubilee magazine. His editorial career continued with positions at Commonweal, Newsweek, and the New Republic over the course of the 1960s. Gilman joined the Yale faculty in 1967, teaching there until 1978, and then off and on thereafter for the next two decades. Over the years, he was also a visiting professor or lecturer at such institutions as Stanford, Boston, and Princeton universities. A former president of PEN American Center, Gilman also contributed his intellectual talents as contributing editor to the Partisan Review in the 1970s, and drama critic for the Nation in the early 1980s. He was highly regarded for his books of drama criticism, too, especially The Making of Modern Drama: A Study of Büchner, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, Handke (1974). Gilman, on a personal level, was deeply concerned with spirituality, and over the years abandoned his Jewish background, becoming a Catholic and then an atheist. Likewise, he was interested in great drama that tried to address the weightier issues of life and existence. Gilman believed that theater criticism should always keep an eye on the highest standards of art, and his exacting standards of drama criticism have been credited with inspiring and influencing a generation of fellow critics. Nominated for the National Book Award for his monograph Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet (1979), Gilman was the author of such works as Common and Uncommon Masks: Writings on Theatre 1961-70 (1970) and Chekhov's Plays: An Opening into Eternity (1995).



Gilman, Richard, Faith, Sex, Mystery: A Memoir, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.


Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2006, p. B12.

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Gilman, Richard 1925-2006

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