Reynolds Price Has Died

Duke University professor and Lambda Literary Award winner Reynolds Price passed away on Thursday in Durham, N.C. at the age of 77, reports the New York Times.

“With a poet’s deep appreciation for language, Reynolds Price taught generations of students to understand and love literature,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead.

“Reynolds was a part of the soul of Duke; he loved this university and always wanted to make it better. We can scarcely imagine Duke without Reynolds Price.”

In a news release about the author’s death, Duke wrote:

He had a commanding presence in the classroom, using his deep, rich voice to convey the beauty of the English language. For many years, Price taught courses on creative writing and the work of 17th-century English poet John Milton, as well as a course on the gospels in which students wrote their own version of a gospel story. Price’s Halloween reading of ghost stories and poems became a tradition on campus that lasted more than a decade.

Price’s notable works include A Long and Happy Life (Atheneum), the 1986 National Book Critics Circle fiction finalist Kate Vaiden (Scribner) and The Three Gospels (Scribner).

He published three memoirs all published by Scribner: Clear Pictures: First Loves, First Guides in 1989, A Whole New Life in 1994, and Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, the 2010 Lambda Literary Award Winner for Gay Biography/Memoir.

Don’t be surprised if most of the obituaries fail to mention that Price was openly gay. Steven Bottom writes it best on his blog, Band of Thebes, “Price was of the old Southern school of homosexual discretion.”