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Posted at 7:17 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Author Reynolds Price dies at 77

By Matt Schudel
Matt Schudel

Reynolds Price, a North Carolina novelist whose books about life in the South were revered by readers and critics alike, died Thursday, Jan. 20, in Durham, N.C. He was 77 and had a heart attack.

Price was considered one of the great stylists of modern fiction, sometimes combining a mandarin manner with the rich colloquial speech of his native North Carolina. His best-known books include "A Rich and Happy Life," "Kate Vaiden" and three volumes of memoirs.

In 1984, he became paralyzed from the waist down after a cancerous tumor was found near his spinal column. Price had been associated with Duke University since 1951, when he enrolled as a freshman. He was on the Duke faculty for more than 50 years.

I interviewed Price once and found him to be, quite possibly, the most eloquent person I have ever spoken with, one on one. He had a richly beautiful speaking voice -- which can be heard on a series of commentaries he did for NPR in the 1990s -- and the sentences rolled out of his mouth in fully formed paragraphs, complete with pauses for punctuation.

A full obituary will follow

By Matt Schudel  | January 20, 2011; 7:17 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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Comments

Reynolds Price was my professor at Duke. He was a master at teaching, writing, and above all thinking. He gave us, as students and readers, a profound and insightful focus on the universal human experience. A consummate gentleman, he stands out in a coarsened societal fabric. And his gallantry in surmounting the medical challenges he faced for years serves as an example to us all. He was a rare person and will be sorely missed.

Posted by: NewMexicoPatriot | January 22, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

One minor correction -- the book's title is "A Long and Happy Life."

Posted by: mboyddc | January 24, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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