Frank Lentricchia was born to working-class parents in Utica, New York, in 1940. He earned his M.A. from Duke University in 1963, and his Ph.D. in 1966. His first two books were about modern poetry, and he then began to write more about literary theory, publishing his ground-breaking books in the early 1980s. Lentricchia served as the editor of two book series, one for The University of Chicago Press (The Wellek Library Lectures), and one for the University of Wisconsin Press (The Wisconsin Project on American Writing.) During these years, he began to drift from his previous work in theory. Lentricchia's first non-scholarly book, The Edge of Night, was published in 1994, and he soon followed with his much-noted essay in Lingua Franca, "Last Will and Testament of an Ex-Literary Critic," his farewell to certain types of academic criticism and theory. Though he did not completely abandon literary comment, Lentricchia from then on devoted himself to fiction. To date, he has published 12 books of fiction.