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Raymond Federman

raymond federman, raymond federman contemporary authors
Raymond Federman May 15, 1928 – October 6, 2009 was a French–American novelist and academic, known also for poetry, essays, translations, and criticism He held positions at the University at Buffalo from 1973 to 1999, when he was appointed Distinguished Emeritus Professor Federman was a writer in the experimental style, one that sought to deconstruct traditional prose This type of writing is quite prevalent in his book Double or Nothing, in which the linear narrative of the story has been broken down and restructured so as to be nearly incoherent Words are also often arranged on pages to resemble images or to suggest repetitious themes

Federman lived at 4 rue Louis Rolland at Montrouge


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Awards
  • 3 Selected bibliography
    • 31 Novels or Novelistic Memoirs
    • 32 Poetry
    • 33 Critical Work
    • 34 Selected Other Works
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Federman, who was Jewish, was born in Montrouge, France He was 14 years old when his parents hid him in a small stairway landing closet as Gestapo arrived at the family home in Nazi-occupied France His family was taken away, and his parents and two sisters were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp Federman hid from the Nazis on farms in southern France during the Holocaust

He later became a leading backstroker on the French national team, and emigrated to the US in 1947 After serving in the US Army in Korea and Japan from 1951 to 1954, he studied at Columbia University under the GI Bill, graduating in 1957 He did his graduate studies at UCLA, receiving his MA in 1958, and PhD in Comparative Literature in 1963, with his doctoral dissertation on Samuel Beckett

Federman's step-son's daughter is Andrea Murez, an Israeli Olympic swimmer who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics

He taught in the French Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1959 to 1964, and in the French Department at The State University of New York at Buffalo from 1964 to 1973, and as a fiction writer in the English Department at the University at Buffalo from 1973 to 1999 He was promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor in 1990, and in 1992, appointed to the Melodia E Jones Chair of Literature, where he served until retiring in July 1999 In 2000, he was appointed as Distinguished Emeritus Professor

He was a member of the Board of Directors of The Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines from 1973-1976 From 1979-1982 he was Co-Director of the Fiction Collective, a publishing house dedicated to experimental fiction and its writers, and later served on the Board of Directors of Fiction Collective Two

Federman died of cancer at the age of 81 in San Diego, California, and in May 2010, his final new English novel was released by Starcherone Press: SHHH: The Story of a Childhood, edited and with an introduction from writer Davis Schneiderman, who also made a 2007 YouTube video with Federman and author Lidia Yuknavitch, in which the three boil books in noodles This is a reference to Federman's first novel Double or Nothing

In his lifetime he read from his work in most major American universities, and lectured in at least eighteen foreign countries His novels have been translated into over a dozen languages, and all his novels have been adapted into radio plays in Germany

Several full-length books have been written about his work, including a 400-page casebook entitled Federman From A to X-X-X-X by Larry McCaffery, Thomas Hartl and Doug Rice In 2010 SUNY Press published Federman's Fiction's: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust, a collection of essays edited by Jeffrey R Di Leo intended to demonstrate the relevance of Federman's writing to disciplines beyond contemporary and experimental literature The collection featured a preface by the esteemed American poet Charles Bernstein, Federman's former colleague at SUNY Buffalo, as well as contributions by an international cast of scholars, writers, and critics including Jerome Klinkowitz, Dan Stone, Marcel Cornis-Pope, Alyson Waters, Eric Dean Rasmussen, Jan Baetens, Susan Rubin Suleiman, Davis Schneiderman, Eckhard Gerdes and Brian McHale His collected plays were published in Austria in a bilingual edition English/German under the title The Precipice & Other Catastrophes In 2002 The Journal of Experimental Fiction devoted a 510-page issue to his work

Federman’s excerpt from Return to Manure won an &NOW award in 2009 and was published in The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing Federman also participated in the biennial &NOW festival, a festival for experimental and innovative writing


  • Guggenheim Fellowship 1966–67
  • Fellow in residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France 1977
  • Fulbright Fellowship to Israel as Writer-in-Residence at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem 1982–83
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction 1985
  • New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for fiction 1986
  • Writer-in-Residence at The Artists-in-Berlin Programme of the DAAD 1990
  • Awarded Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government 1995
  • Honorary Trustee of the Samuel Beckett Society
  • Double or Nothing winner of the Frances Steloff Fiction Prize 1971 and The Panache Experimental Fiction Prize 1972
  • Amer Eldorado nominated for Le Prix Médicis
  • American Book Award for “Smiles on Washington Square: A Love Story of Sorts” 1986

Selected bibliography

Novels or Novelistic Memoirs

  • Double or Nothing Swallow Press Re-issued by Ohio University Press, 1976 New revised edition, following the page design of the German edition Alles oder Nichts, transl by Peter Torberg, Greno Verlag, 1985, by Fiction Collective Two, 1991
  • Amer Eldorado Written in French, Editions Stock, Paris, 1974 New Editions revised and expanded, Weidler Buchverlag, 2001
  • Take It Or Leave It The Fiction Collective, 1976 New revised edition, Fiction Collective Two, 1997
  • The Voice in the Closet / La Voix Dans le Cabinet de Débarras Bilingual novel, Coda Press, 1979 Re-issued Station Hill Press, 1985 New edition, Starchrone Books, 2001 New expanded edition Impressions Nouvelles, 2001 Trilingual edition English, French, German, transl by Peter Torberg Kellner Verlag, 1989
  • The Twofold Vibration Indiana University Press & Harvester Press Ltd, 1982
  • Smiles on Washington Square Thunder's Mouth Press, 1985
  • To Whom It May Concern Fiction Collective Two, 1990
  • La Fourrure de ma Tante Rachel written in French Éditions Circé, 1997
  • Loose Shoes Weidler Verlag, 2001
  • Aunt Rachel's Fur Fiction Collective Two, 2001
  • Mon corps en neuf parties Editions Al Dante, 2003
  • A qui de droit French Al Dante, 2003 New edition, 2006
  • Retour au fumier Editions Al Dante, 2005
  • My Body in Nine Parts Starcherone Books, 2005
  • Return To Manure Fiction Collective Two, 2006
  • The Twilight of the Bums with George Chambers, and cartoon accompaniment by T Motley Starcherone Books, 2007
  • ChutFrench Léo Scheer, 2008
  • The Carcasses A Fable BlazeVOX Books, 2009
  • SHHH: The Story of a Childhood Introduction by Davis Schneiderman; Edited by Ted Pelton and Davis Schneiderman Starcherone Books, 2010


  • Among the Beasts / Parmi Les Monsters Bilingual poems Milas-Martin Editions, 1967
  • Me Too Westcoast Poetry Press, 1975
  • Duel-L Poems in English/French/German The Stop-over Press, 1991
  • Now Then / Nun denn Bilingual Poems in English & German transl by Peter Torberg Edition Isele, 1992
  • 99 hand written poems = 99 poèmes faits à la Main Weidler Buchverlag, 2001
  • Here and Elsewhere: Poetic Cul de Sac Six Gallery Press, 2003
  • Surcomixxxx English and German with comic strips illustrations Ed Dirk Görtler Klauss Isele, 2003
  • Ici et ailleurs / Here & elsewhere Le Mot et le reste, 2004
  • L'extatique de Jule & Juliette Le Mot et le reste, 2006
  • Chair Jaune English & French Le Bleu du Ciel, 2007

Critical Work

  • Journey into Chaos: Samuel Beckett's Early Fiction University California Press, 1965 Reprinted by Books on Demand, 1998
  • Samuel Beckett, His Works and His Critics: An Essay in Bibliography with John Fletcher University California Press, 1970
  • Surfiction: Fiction Now & Tomorrow Editor, Swallow Press, 1975 Revised & expanded edition, Ohio University Press, 1981
  • Samuel Beckett Co-Editor with Tom Bishop Editions de L'Herne, 1976 New edition, Hachette, 1985
  • Samuel Beckett the Critical Heritage Co-Editor with Lawrence Graver Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978
  • Critifiction: Postmodern Essays State University of New York Press, 1993

Selected Other Works

  • The Rigmarole of Contrariety Limited edition chapbook The Bolt Court Press, 1982
  • Eine Version meines Lebens Autobiography with photos, in German, transl by Peter Torberg Maro Verlag, 1993
  • The Supreme Indecision of the Writer: The 1994 Lectures in Turkey Essays The Boltcourt Press, 1995
  • The Line, 1996
  • The Precipice and Other Catastrophes / der abgrund und andere katastrophen Collected Plays, bilingual edition, English/German Ed Thomas Hartl Poetry Salzburg, 1999
  • The Twilight of the Bums with George Chambers, 2002
  • More Loose Shoes and Smelly Socks Six Gallery Press, 2005
  • Coup de Pompes Fragments d’écriture Le Mot & Le Reste, 2007
  • The Sam Book Memoir, Two Ravens, 2008


  1. ^ a b Fox, Margalit October 12, 2009 "Raymond Federman, Avante-Garde Novelist and Beckett Scholar, Dies at 81" The New York Times Retrieved June 2, 2010 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Stanford swimming's Murez makes own mark
  3. ^ a b c d Federman's online resumé http://wwwfedermancom/rfpubhtm
  4. ^ http://epcbuffaloedu/authors/federman/biohtml
  5. ^ Federman: From A to X-X-X-X — A Recyclopedic Narrative Eds Larry McCaffery, Thomas Hartl, and Doug Rice San Diego: SDSU Press, 1998 ISBN 978-1879691537
  6. ^ Di Leo, Jeffrey R Ed Federman's Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Albany: SUNY Press, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4384-3381-3
  7. ^ Bernstein, Charles "Some Answers for Raymond Federman" Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011
  8. ^ Klinkowtiz, Jerome "Beckett and Beyond: Federman the Scholar" Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011
  9. ^ Stone, Dan "Surviving in the Corridors of History or, History as Double or Nothing" Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011
  10. ^ Rasmussen, Eric Dean “The Agony of Unrecognition: Raymond Federman and Postmodern Theory” Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011 159–90
  11. ^ “Suleiman, Susan Rubin "When Postmodern Play Meets Survivor Testimony: Federman and Holocaust Literature" Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011
  12. ^ McHale, Brian "A Narrative Poetics of Raymond Federman" Federman’s Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust Ed Jeffrey R Di Leo Albany: SUNY Press, 2011
  13. ^ Eckhard Gerdes "The Laugh that Laughs at the Laugh: Writing from and about the Pen Man, Raymond Federman" Journal of Experimental Fiction Vol 2, 20023 ISBN 978-0595214044
  14. ^ Samuel Beckett Society http://wwwuaacbe/mainaspxc=SBECKETT
  15. ^ American Booksellers Association 2013 "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation " BookWeb Archived from the original on March 13, 2013 Retrieved September 25, 2013 1986 Smiles on Washington Square, Raymond Federman 
  16. ^ ebook version at altxcom http://wwwaltxcom/ebooks/downloadcfm/bumspdf

External links

  • Raymond Federman's website
  • Raymond Federman's blog
  • Raymond Federman's University at Buffalo page
  • Volker Frick: go a head begin
  • "Here & Elsewhere" Federman's poem "on Faith and Reason"
  • the precipice and other catastrophes / der abgrund und andere katastrophen Poetry Salzburg, 1999
  • The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing Volume 1
  • &NOW Festival

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