Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Since the early 60s, Raymond Federman has been one of the most important American writers. In his highly experimental fictions - works that bear such titles as Take It or Leave It, Double or Nothing, and The Twofold Vibrations - he has explored cultural and personal memory, invented intricate narrative strategies, and above all has given readers an experience that exceeds the ordinary. Creating situations that make one really think and really laugh is a tall order for any writer. But Federman did it. He is one of the few writers to truly have achieved this.

As he has just turned 80 and is being celebrated around the world, some of us here in Denmark have decided to mark the event. That Federman is still around, publishing, blogging, answering private emails, and engaging with readers of all sorts, can indeed be considered a gift of the highest quality. Just check his blog - [the laugh that laughs at the laugh] - to get a sense of how important it is for him to situate himself not only vis-à-vis literary history, in which he is by now well recognized and firmly consolidated, but vis-à-vis the kind of literary history that allows readers to come close to writers and thus engage in a 'communal' act of writing themselves. Put it differently, we read Federman to write about him as he writes about us through his own experiences. Federman is a round kind of writer.

In response to such generosity, I've put out a collection of essays written in collaboration with colleagues at Aalborg University. The volume presents four scholarly articles, and as indicated on the poster (make sure to enlarge it so that you can see the table of contents to begin with), it also offers readers a special treat in the form of unpublished texts by Federman. The book Federman Frenzy: the 'cult' in culture, the 'me' in memory, the 'he' in history - encounters with Raymond Federman is published as a web publication by Research News, Dept. of Language and Culture, Aalborg University.