A twentieth-century American novelist, he is known for works such as Guard of Honor and By Love Possessed. Two of his short stories, Total Stranger and a Farewell to Cuba, received the prestigious O. Henry Award.
He published his debut novel, Confusion, while he was a student at Harvard University.
A vocal critic of literary modernism, he once said that he could not read more than ten pages of
He was born in Chicago, and he grew up in New York City. He married Sylvia Bernice Baumgarten in 1927.
John Updike criticized Cozzens's last novel, Morning, Noon, and Night.