Emeritus Professor Gabriel Josipovici

Honorary Fellow

Gabriel Josipovici (1958, English) was born in Nice in 1940 to Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. When the war was over he and his mother made their way to Egypt, where her family was based, and he was educated at Victoria College, Cairo before coming to England in 1956 to finish his schooling at Cheltenham College.

From 1958 to 1961 he was a student at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating with a First, and then began a BLitt on Swift’s A Tale of a Tub. In 1963 he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in English in the School of European Studies in the newly established University of Sussex, where he remained throughout his academic career, retiring as Professor of English in 1998.

While at Oxford he had published fiction in student magazines, and in 1968 published his first novel, The Inventory (Michael Joseph), followed by Words, The Present, and a volume of stories and short plays, Mobius the Stripper (all Gollancz). His teaching at Sussex and the need to understand where he was coming from as a writer led to the writing of a critical book, The World and the Book (MacMillan, 1971), and, later, a book on the narrative strategies of the Bible, The Book of God (Yale, 1987), and one on Touch (Yale, 1996). He has also published collections of essays on literary and cultural topics and a book based on the lectures he gave at University College London as Northcliffe Lecturer, Writing and the Body (1981) and at Oxford as Weidenfeld Professor of Comparative Literature, On Trust.

The bulk of his work, however, has been in the fields of fiction and the theatre, both stage and radio, where his best known works have been Flow, performed by the Actor’s Company in Edinburgh and on tour in 1973, AG, the BBC entry for the Prix de Rome in 1977, and the novels Contre-JourIn a Hotel Garden, Moo Pak, Goldberg: Variations, Everything Passes and, most recently, Infinity and Hotel Andromeda (all Carcanet).

In 2001 he published a memoir of his mother, the translator Sacha Rabinovitch, which is also a kind of autobiography. His production continues unabated, with a new novel, The Cemetery in Barnes, published in the Spring of 2018, an appearance at the 2018 Edinburgh Book Festival in August, and a lecture to the Institute of Psychoanalysis in September, and he goes on reviewing regularly for the TLS and other journals.

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