WU LibrariesWU Libraries: Department of Special Collections
Search Special Collections Website

image1image2image4
Manuscript Collection

Raymond Federman, 1928-2009. French-American Author.

Raymond Federman

Finding Aid for the Raymond Federman Papers [MSS044]

Raymond Federman (May 15, 1928 – October 6, 2009) was a French–American novelist and academic, known also for poetry, essays, translations, and criticism. He 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 was born in Montrouge, France, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1947. After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea and Japan from 1951 to 1954, he studied at Columbia University under the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1957. He did his graduate studies at U.C.L.A., receiving his M.A. in 1958, and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 1963, with his doctoral dissertation on Samuel Beckett.

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 SUNY-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.

Federman died of cancer at the age of 81 and in May 2010, his final new English novel, SHHH: The Story of a Childhood, was released by Starcherone Press.

Collection Description

The Raymond Federman Collection includes extensive draft and proof materials toward Federman's books including Double or Nothing, Amer Eldorado, Aunt Rachel's Fur, and Shhh. Also, materials relating to his critical work on Samuel Beckett, short stories, poems, essays, extensive correspondence, unpublished works, reel-to-reel audio recordings, student dissertations and teaching materials, clippings and other ephemera, and photographs.