FICTION BY JONATHAN BAYLISS

GLOUCESTERMAN is the name which the American novelist Jonathan Bayliss (1926-2009) gave to his massive 20th-century fiction series, the novels Prologos, Gloucesterbook, Gloucestertide, and Gloucestermas.

Gloucesterbook, Gloucestertide, and Gloucestermas take place during the 1960s and 1970s on "Cape Gloucester," in a seaport called "Dogtown," the author's fictional name for Gloucester, Massachusetts, on Cape Ann. The setting of Prologos is 1950s Berkeley and Oakland, California, with flashbacks to the Great Depression in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and rural Vermont; wartime New York City; and the final days of WW2 in the western Pacific. It is "Cape Gloucester" that draws the men and women of the novels together. 

The 2,000+ pages of this semi-autobiographical fiction interweave big subjects including 20th-century American society (from business systems and technology to politics and culture); dance, ritual, myth, and tragedy; history, from Sumer to Gloucester; sexual attraction and domestic life; and theories of art and philosophy.

GLOUCESTERMAN is a web of ideas, people, and place, created by a writer whose interests were broad and whose diction and vocabulary are unusual and stimulating.

In Prologos, the main character Michael Chapman remembers that as a boy in 1930s Cambridge, Massachusetts, he had christened his homemade toy schooner Gloucesterman as he launched it on the Charles River during a downpour. In Gloucestermas, which takes place during the 1970s in a seaport city modeled on Gloucester, Massachusetts, a retired Navy man joins a fateful ocean voyage on an old schooner named Gloucesterman

For further exploration ... 

  • Drawbridge Press: publisher website

  • Eulogy by Peter Anastas

  • From Cats to Seagulls: A Bayliss Bestiary: video of readings held via Zoom September 11, 2020. Participants George Angell, Liz Fletcher Sibley, Jeff Gardiner, Mark Kurlansky, Marcella Henderson-Peal, Martha Oaks, Kevin Taylor

  • Gloucesterbook readings by Saira Austin, Diane Faissler, Thorpe Feidt, Doug Guidry, Paul McGeary,  Susan Oleksiw, Ann Rhinelander, and Ken Riaf, with comments by Catherine Bayliss, Henry Ferrini, Greg Gibson, David Rich, and Danuta Borchardt: September 2016 audio of Gloucester Writers Center's event celebrating Bayliss's 90th birthday

  • "A Gloucesterman's Final Chapter" (Gloucester Daily Times 2010 article about publication of Gloucestermas

  • Gloucester Quintet: Five Writers, Five Friends: video of readings held via Zoom September 2020 featuring works by Peter Anastas, Jonathan Bayliss, Vincent Ferrini, Gerrit Lansing, and Charles Olson, who became friends in Gloucester, Mass., in the late 1950s / early 1960s. Participants Derek Fenner, Owen Ferrini, Gary Grieve-Carlson, Victoria Bayliss Mattingly, Leslie Morris, Charles Olson, Ken Riaf, Judith Walcott, 

  • Jonathan Bayliss Society: literary society fostering appreciation of Bayliss's work;  hosts public readings and member events; publishes Bayliss Society Notebook

  • Obituary, Boston Globe,  April 22, 2009

  • Prologos reading by Jonathan Bayliss, c. 1980 (scroll to bottom of web page)

  • Prologos readings on labor themes by David Adams, Peter Anastas, Thorpe Feidt, Henry Ferrini, Doug Guidry, Victoria Bayliss Mattingly, Martin Ray, Ken Riaf, and David Rich (September 2015 Gloucester Writers Center reading; video recorded at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center); visitor's blog about the event

  • Reviews by Peter Anastas, Peter DuBrul, Gary Grieve-Carlson, Gerrit Lansing, Stuart Miller

  • Stephen Farrell essays Call Me Ipsissimus: Charles Olson in Jonathan Bayliss’s Gloucesterbook and Where West Meets East

  • The Tower of Gilgamesh: student production of Bayliss's play loosely based on the Sumerian epic (partial video recording)

Copyright 2020  Jonathan Bayliss Trust