R. Clifton Spargo, author of Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, is a novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic.
A graduate of the doctoral program in literature at Yale University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Clifton has published fiction in journals such as The Antioch Review, FICTION, Glimmer Train, SOMA, and The Kenyon Review, among other places. And his essays and reviews on literature, culture, and ethics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Raritan, Commonweal, The Yale Review, Bookslut, The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, and Chicago’s independent cultural weekly NewCity. Clifton also writes a blog called "The HI/LO,"on the interplay between high and low culture, for The Huffington Post.
In his capacity as cultural critic and scholar in the humanities, Clifton’s work focuses on ethics and the memory of injustice. He is an expert in Holocaust Studies, in the study of trauma and testimony, and in American literature and culture; and he has written on a variety of human rights topics, including torture, genocide, the plight of the disappeared in Latin American countries, and the cultural perception of victims. He trained in the humanities at Edinburgh University, Yale Divinity School, and Yale University, where he earned his PhD. Clifton has published two distinguished monographs with The Johns Hopkins University Press, The Ethics of Mourning (2004), and Vigilant Memory: Emmanuel Levinas, the Holocaust, and the Unjust Death (2006). And he co-edited with Robert Ehrenreich the book After Representation?: The Holocaust, Literature, and Culture, published by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Press and Rutgers University Press in 2010.
Clifton has taught creative writing at Yale University, Marquette University, as a Provost’s Visiting Writer in Fiction at the University of Iowa, and as the inaugural Dixon Professor of Creative Writing at Wittenberg University. He has also held positions as a Professor of English at Marquette University and a Visiting Associate Professor of English at Yale University, teaching courses on literature and ethics, Holocaust studies, and the memory of injustice in contemporary poetry and fiction. He has twice been in residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the first time as the Pearl Resnick Fellow, and a second time as a Leon Milman Memorial Fellow. And he has held a number of other prestigious fellowships, including an Arts Fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a John D. and Rose H. Jackson Fellowship at the Beinecke Library, and a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities.