Walter Abish is an independent writer known for the social, philosophical, and linguistic concerns of his literary creations.
His most celebrated novel, How German Is It? (1980), is an inquiry into contemporary German identity. The novel is marked by its cerebral narrative style, lucid prose, and controlled irony. Abish’s other works include collections of short fiction, Minds Meet (1975), In the Future Perfect (1977), and a collection of experimental pieces, 99: The New Meaning (1990), a book of poetry, Duel Site (1970), and the novels, Alphabetical Africa (1974), which explores the necessity of understanding in communication, and Eclipse Fever (1993), set mostly in Mexico. His short stories have appeared in the literary journals Confrontation, The Element, Extensions, and Statements: New Fiction.
In 2004, Abish published his first work of non-fiction, a record of his memoirs, Double Vision: A Self Portrait. In it, he sketches his life as a boy in Austria, his Jewish family and their escape from Nazi expansion, his adult travels in China and Israel, and reflects on his lifelong relationship with Germany.
Abish has taught and lectured at Yale, Brown, and Columbia Universities. He was visiting professor at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (1987, 1993-4) and has been a contributing editor of Conjunctions since 1981.
Last updated January 1, 2005.