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Buy Sixty Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) New Ed by Donald Barthelme, David Gates (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low. With these audacious and murderously witty stories, Donald Barthelme threw the preoccupations of our time into the literary equivalent of a. This excellent collection of Donald Barthelme’s literary output during the s and s covers the period when the writer came to.

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It was in my late teens that I fell for Donald Barthelme.

No passing adolescent fancy this, but a palpitating obsession of the first water. In his essay The Beards, Jonathan Lethem writes of Talking Heads that xonald the peak, in ormy identification was so complete that I might have barthleme to wear the album Fear of Music in place of my head”.

That book and its predecessor Sixty Stories were Barthelme’s self-selected “best-ofs”, their contents culled from nine story collections and work first published in magazines such as the New Yorker and Esquire.

His fiction resulted in more letters of complaint being sent to the former publication than any other writer, a predictable result of its audacity.

His postmodernist aesthetic, however, is not of the sort that revels in being problematic for stoories own sake.

Sixty Stories

He is now more referenced than read, but at the time of storied death from throat cancer in Barthelme was, alongside Raymond Carver, the most emulated short story writer in America. The vast majority of his work, unlike that of many of his formally adventurous contemporaries, remains fresh, despite its reputation having been unfairly tarnished by underachieving copyists.


He often cited collage as the central artistic principle of the last century and many of sttories stories work in just such a way, mashing historical and artistic allusions into pop-cultural references and voices that shift between the demotic, the bureaucratic and the formal.

Place and time are often elastic or paradoxical.

A brief survey of the short story part 16: Donald Barthelme

These last are “only a way of making you see chariots or palanquins”, said Barthelme, the comment indicative of the way in which his playfulness is rarely that alone. Perhaps the most immediately appealing aspect of Barthelme’s craft, other than what George Saunders calls “the devastating adroitness of his language”, is his supreme talent for comedy.

This subsists even in his angriest stories, such as The Rise of Capitalism Despite noting that donqld urge to crack jokes was something he developed greater control over as he grew in experience, the high value he placed on humour is indicated by an attack he made on nouveau roman writers in his essay After Joyce.

That storie, as unexpected as it is perspicacious, is typical of Barthelme, whose work repels certain accusations habitually levelled at postmodernism: One need only read The Indian Uprisingone of his most famous stories, to be disabused of this notion.


Ludic, bizarre and partially opaque as it may be, its presiding atmosphere is nevertheless such that it would surprise few readers to learn that it was written at the height of the Vietnam war. Equally, its description of the waterboarding of an enemy combatant shows its concerns can hardly be said to lie solely with events of the past.

Donald Barthelme – ’60 Stories’

He both celebrated and despaired of them, and his work essentially represents an ongoing investigation into problematic relationships — between the barthslme sides of the self; men and women; races and societies; competing ideologies; nature and technology; high and low culture; language and meaning — and a sustained attempt to carry out this investigation in an original, meaningful way.

His work clearly bears the influence of both, and of the Eliot of The Waste Barthleme particularly in the repeated “Fragments are the only forms I trust” refrain of ‘s See The Moon?

As with all great artists his influences represented territories to strike out from, not storiex in which to settle. Topics Donald Barthelme Books blog. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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