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Raymond Federman Biography

(1928– ), Double or Nothing, Take It or Leave It, The Voice in the Closet

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American novelist and critic, born in Paris, educated at Columbia University and the University of California at Los Angeles. Federman migrated to the USA in 1948 and took American citizenship in 1953. He is generally considered one of the central figures in the ‘school’ of post-modernist, anti-realist fiction which began to dominate the American novel in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and his work is often discussed alongside that of contemporaries such as John Barth, Robert Coover, William Gass, Thomas Pynchon, and Ronald Sukenick. In Double or Nothing (1971) the authorial role is distributed among a number of different voices, and Take It or Leave It (1976) makes much imaginative use of the typographical character of the printed page (notably in the novel's ‘Pretext’); other novels include The Voice in the Closet (1979) and To Whom It May Concern (1990). The Twofold Vibration (1982), a work of political fiction, is generally considered his most innovative novel. His non-fiction prose is collected in Surfiction: Fiction Now and Tomorrow (1981) and Critifiction: Postmodern Essays (1993), while he has also written extensively on Samuel Beckett, notably in Journeys to Chaos: Samuel Beckett's Early Fiction (1965) and Samuel Beckett (1976), and he has edited Samuel Beckett: The Critical Heritage (1979). He became a Professor of English at the State University of New York. See The Novel as Performance: The Fiction of Ronald Sukenick and Raymond Federman (1986) by Jerzy Kutnick.

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