Leeds, Barry H. 1940-

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Leeds, Barry H. 1940-


Born December 6, 1940, in New York, NY; son of Andrew (a teacher) and Paula (a teacher) Leeds; married Robin Cornwell (a teacher), April 20, 1968 (divorced, 2000); children: Brett Ashley (daughter), Leslie Robin (daughter; deceased). Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1962, M.A., 1963; Ohio University, Ph.D., 1967.


Home—Bristol, CT. Office—Department of English, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT 06050. E-mail—[email protected]


Worked at manual jobs, 1957-62, mainly as ordinary seaman on U.S. Merchant Service freighters and tankers; New York Times, New York, NY, credit checker, 1963; City University of New York, New York, NY, lecturer in English, 1963-64; University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, instructor in English, 1964-65; Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, assistant professor, 1968-71, associate professor, 1971-76, professor of English, 1976—; distinguished professor, 1991—. Yale University, visiting faculty fellow, 1984-85. Lecturer at conferences, schools, and other institutions; guest on media programs; member of editorial board, Connecticut Review, 1986-95; writing consultant.


American Association of University Professors, Norman Mailer Society (vice president, 2003—), Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.


The Structured Vision of Norman Mailer, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Ken Kesey, Frederick Ungar (New York, NY), 1981.

The Enduring Vision of Norman Mailer, Pleasure Boat Studio (Bainbridge Island, WA), 2002.

Contributing editor, D.C. Heath Anthology of American Literature. Contributor of more than 200 articles and reviews to periodicals, including Choice, Columbia Review, Connecticut Review, Journal of Modern Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, New Hampshire College Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Saturday Review. Editor, Connecticut Review, editor, 1989-92.


Barry H. Leeds once told CA: "In both my writing and my teaching, I am fascinated by the confluence of popular and high culture. I believe that everything in our culture is contingent on everything else, and that in the study of literature no digression is unproductive."

Later, he added: "Here is the premise for my current work. For most of my life in reading, writing, and teaching literature, I have lived with the assurance that I am also living literature. The books that form the central core of my aesthetic vision have also been those which inform my life ethic, encouraging and enabling me by their example to make meaningful existential choices, to flesh them out in my actions, and to live with the consequences.

"It is a more recent recognition, filling my mind with a gathering certainty over the past decade, that my life—its adventures, triumphs and travails, actions and reactions—have invariably changed my perceptions of the books I have lived with as companions and friends for all these years. In other words, from Hamlet to The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, An American Dream, and Sometimes a Great Notion, the books have changed in my perception of them from age twenty to thirty to forty and beyond, while the actual texts have remained the same.

"With my own life in literature and action as my obvious paradigm, I am tracing and illuminating this healthy symbiotic relationship between the instinctive life of a healthy, procreative animal and the carefully examined life of a creative, sentient mind."