Arthur H. Cash, who wrote "a definitive two-volume biography of the English novelist Laurence Sterne and became a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007 for his biography of the 18th-century English radical John Wilkes," died December 29, the New York Times reported. He was 94. The first volume of his magnum opus, Laurence Sterne: The Early and Middle Years, was published in 1975, and the second volume, Laurence Sterne: The Later Years, in 1986. Historical novelist Max Byrd wrote in the Times that Cash's biography "now takes its place as the standard scholarly life."
Sterne "led Mr. Cash to his next great subject, the political renegade and moral reprobate John Wilkes, a friend of Sterne and therefore of Mr. Cash," the Times wrote, noting that John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty "did justice to Wilkes both as a fiery proponent of individual rights and as a wild man, a libertine par excellence in an age with no shortage of memorable rakes." The book was one of three finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer in biography.
French author Michel Déon, a member of the Académie Française "whose dozens of novels offered a witty, panoramic view of French society and history," died December 28, the New York Times reported. He was 97. Déon was best known in the English-speaking world for his novels Where Are You Dying Tonight? (Un Déjeuner de Soleil), which became his first work translated into English in 1989; and The Foundling Boy (Le Jeune Homme Vert), published in 1975 with an English translation appearing in 2013.
"To French readers, Mr. Déon was a complicated and contrarian figure: a political reactionary whose work evolved from experimentalism to more traditional forms, and an enthusiastic champion of young renegade writers," the Times noted.