Paul Fussell, the wide-ranging, stingingly opinionated literary scholar and cultural critic whose admiration for Samuel Johnson, Kingsley Amis and the Boy Scout Handbook was balanced against his withering scorn for the romanticization of war, the predominance of television and much of American society, died on Wednesday in Medford, Ore. He was 88.
His stepson Cole Behringer said he died of natural causes in the long-term care facility where he had spent the last two years.
Mr. Fussell's widely acclaimed books encompassed seminal works on World War II, social commentary ("Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear"), literary criticism ("The Anti-Egotist: Kingsley Amis, Man of Letters") and memoir ("Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic"). But he may be best remembered for "The Great War and Modern Memory," his monumental study of World War I and how its horrors fostered a disillusioned modernist sensibility.
"It was the perfect moment in a writer's life — the right subject, the right time," Mr. Fussell said of the book in an interview in 1980. "It was an accidental masterpiece."
[A more complete obituary will follow.]