John Barth was born in Cambridge, Maryland and briefly studied "Elementary Theory and Advanced Orchestration" at Juilliard before attending Johns Hopkins University, receiving a B.A. in 1951 and an M.A. in 1952.
Some of the books he has written include The Floating Opera (1957), The End of the Road (1958), The Sot-Weed Factor (1960), Giles Goat-Boy (1966), Lost in the Funhouse (1968), Chimera (1972), Letters (1979), and Sabbatical: A Romance (1982).
He was a professor at Penn State University (1953-1965), SUNY Buffalo (1965-1973), Boston University (visiting professor, 1972-1973), and Johns Hopkins University (1973-1995) before he retired in 1995.