Thanks to my fellow-Stactonite Richard Nedelkoff for sending me the link to this new article in The Guardian: David Stacton: the method man. Among other things, it's a superb concise biography and critical assessment. Excerpt:
As Granta prepares once again to give its view of who are the 20 Best Young British Novelists, we should remember that this kind of critical cherrypicking is an old game, often played rather well. In 1963, Time magazine made its choice of the 10 best American novelists to have emerged over the previous decade, and 50 years on it's a list you could hardly quarrel with – on it were John Updike, Joseph Heller, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Ralph Ellison and Walker Percy.
Yet perhaps its most conspicuous name is a now forgotten man: David Stacton, arguably the most unjustly neglected American novelist of the post-second world war era.
In a writing career spanning 15 years Stacton produced more than 14 novels and three fat works of non-fiction. First "discovered" in Britain, he had to wait several years before his native America paid him any attention. Assessing Stacton's career on the release of what proved to be his last novel, People of the Book (1965), one American critic ruefully concluded that his case was "the old story of literary virtue unrewarded".
Three years later Stacton was dead; and for four decades since, his memory has been kept alive largely by admiring fellow authors and, more recently, in the bookish corners of the blogosphere.
However in 2011 New York Review Books reissued The Judges of the Secret Court, Stacton's 11th novel and the second in what he saw as a trilogy on American themes. (History and trilogies were his abiding passions.) Over the last six months Faber Finds (the "lost books" imprint of which I am editor) has reissued a further seven Stacton novels; and any one of them may be safely recommended to readers who respect a novelist of high style and vaulting ambition.I recently re-read Judges of the Secret Court, and found that it holds up very well after close to half a century. I look forward to re-reading more of Stacton's work.