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Wilfrid Sheed in 1987
Wilfrid John Joseph Sheed (27 December 1930 - 19 January 2011) was an English-born American novelist and essayist.
Sheed's first novel, A Middle Class Education (1961 ; earlier in the UK), was based on his experiences at Oxford. His biography Frank and Maisie was about his parents' literary establishment and intellectual world. He wrote satirical novels about journalism and memoirs in his later years. His book on American popular music, entitled The House that George Built with a little help from Irving, Cole and a Crew of about Fifty was published in 2008.
Golden Age of American Song has been saluted and high-faluted in books and wept over repeatedly, but "The House That George Built" is a big rich stew of an homage that makes you want to listen to Gershwin and Berlin and Porter and Arlen all over again ... Sheed's jazzy prose is a joy to read. It goes catapulting along, digressing like mad, never pedantic, a little frantic, which is just right: the jazz song, like all true art, is a flight from depression, indifference, the cold blank stare, the earnest clammy touch.
He married Maria Bullitt Darlington in 1957 and they had three children; the marriage ended in divorce in 1967. He remarried in 1972 to cookbook author Miriam Ungerer. At his death he was survived by his second wife, three children, a sister, two stepdaughters and four grandchildren.