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Matthew J. Bruccoli; A Prolific Scholar Of Jazz Age Writers

Matthew J. Bruccoli
Matthew J. Bruccoli (University Of South Carolina - University Of South Carolina)
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"I managed, within a week, to find a copy of 'The Great Gatsby,' and I haven't stopped reading Fitzgerald or 'The Great Gatsby' since," he told NPR in 1996.

Dr. Bruccoli graduated from Yale University in 1953 and briefly went to graduate school at Cornell University, where one of his professors was the novelist Vladimir Nabokov. (He later edited Nabokov's letters.) He completed his graduate studies at the University of Virginia, receiving master's and doctoral degrees in English in 1956 and 1960, respectively.

He taught at Ohio State University before joining the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1969. He helped expand the university's holdings of literary papers and, several years ago, donated more than 3,000 books and periodicals about Fitzgerald, valued at $2 million, to the university.

For 32 years, Dr. Bruccoli was president of Bruccoli Clark Layman, a company that produces reference works on literary and social history, most notably the 400-volume Dictionary of Literary Biography.

In 2000, Dr. Bruccoli and his wife, Arlyn, published a new edition of Wolfe's 1929 novel "Look Homeward, Angel," restoring 60,000 words that had been "truncated and butchered" by editor Maxwell Perkins. The new volume, which appeared under Wolfe's original title, "O Lost," set off a literary firestorm concerning authorial intent and the value of editing.

In addition to Dr. Bruccoli's wife, of Columbia, survivors include four children, Joseph Bruccoli of Columbia, Mary Bruccoli of New York, Josephine Owens of San Francisco and Arlyn Bruccoli of Corinth, Vt.; and seven grandchildren.

Dr. Bruccoli, a familiar campus figure with his crew cut and gruff New York accent, often took students on visits to the literary haunts of Paris, including the cafe where Hemingway and Fitzgerald first met in 1925.

"The thing that makes you want to stay with it," he told the State newspaper of Columbia during one such tour in 2005, "is the excitement of finding an author who writes as you would if you could write that well, a writer who feels as you feel."


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