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* Publications
* Bibliography
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See also:
* Book Info:
The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories
(July 2001)
Natural Selection
(July 2001)
Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss
(May 2001)
The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories
(October 2000)
trip
(December 1999)
Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss
(November 1999)
Bob the Gambler
(October 1998)
Bob the Gambler
(October 1997)
Painted Desert
(April 1997)
   
* Writer News:
Barthelme brothers indicted for cheating at blackjack
(7 March 1998)
Cheating charges dropped against Barthelme brothers
(10 August 1999)
 

Home:  >Browse Listings   >Authors   >Barthelme, Frederick
Frederick Barthelme
Frederick Barthelme

Frederick Barthelme

Frederick Barthelme is an artist, educator, editor, and writer, currently teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is probably best known for his fiction, which many critics place into the school of literary minimalism, though Barthelme is himself uncomfortable with the term.

Born October 10, 1943, in Houston, Texas, Barthelme has spent much of his time in the South. His is a literary family; two of his brothers, Donald and Steve, are also respected writers. Barthelme attended Tulane University in 1961-62, and the University of Houston from 1962-65, and in 66-67. In 1965-66, he studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. He originally intended to be an painter.

In fact, he worked in the art field for several years after completing his undergraduate work, including jobs as an architectural draftsman, an exhibit installer, assistant to the director of the Kornblee Gallery in New York City, and creative director and senior writer at various Houston, TX, advertising firms.

His artwork was featured in many galleries in the late sixties and early seventies, including the Louisiana Gallery in Houston, TX (1965, 1967), the Museum of Normal Art in New York City (1967), the Seattle Art Museum in Washington State (1969), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (1970).

Because, as Barthelme has put it, he “didn’t want to carry big pieces of lumber through the streets of New York” all his life, he changed career direction somewhere during this period. In 1977, he earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and took a position as a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he still teaches and where he edits the Mississippi Review.

In 1976-77, he received the Eliot Coleman Award for prose from Johns Hopkins University for his short story, “Storyteller.” He was also the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979 and 1980.

Barthelme’s reputation as a practioner of literary minimalism is due to many of the persistent themes and motifs that recur throughout his fiction. Much of his fiction is set in the “New South” of shopping malls and neon, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Popular culture references blanket his work and, in the process, destroy the uniqueness of his fictional settings.

Barthelme is also, as reviewer James Kaufman puts it, “‘not particularly interested in plot or story’ but rather ‘in scenes, in snapshots which illustrate such fashionable problems as fear of intimacy, loneliness, hostility, and other sub-clinical manifestations of the modern malaise.’” Loneliness and alienation, and the fear of them, are persistent themes in his fiction.

Because of his placeless settings and his emphasis on alienation, he has been called by at least one reviewer, Daniel Akst, “the bard of suburban disconnectedness.”

Barthelme, himself, has noted in an interview that he likes to write about “people who show what they think and feel through action and reactions, through choices, through oblique bits of dialogue, but who probably don’t ‘talk about’ those same thoughts or feelings, perhaps because they’ve noticed that things talked about (1) are often some distance from things felt, and (2) sometimes tend to disappear in all the talk. In other words, they’re skeptical about language and its use.”

Related Links & Info



Paul Signac's The Bonaventure Pine
Paul Signac’s The Bonaventure Pine (1893) is one of the art works on display at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts web site.


New York's Museum of Modern Art
Before he turned to writing, Frederick Barthelme’s art was displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and other galleries.


Mississippi
Review

Web Edition

Publications

Dramatic works: Screenplays

  • Second Marriage. 1985.
  • Tracer. 1986.

Fiction: Novels

  • War and War. 1971
  • Second Marriage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984.
  • Tracer. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985.
  • Two Against One. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988.
  • Natural Selection. New York: Viking, 1989.
  • The Brothers. New York: Viking, 1993.
  • Painted Desert. New York: Viking, 1995.
  • Bob the Gambler. Boston: Houghton-Miflin, 1997.

Fiction: Short Story Collections

  • Rangoon. 1970.
  • Moon Deluxe. Simon & Schuster, 1983.
  • Chroma. Simon & Schuster, 1987.
  • The Law of Averages: New & Selected Stories. Counterpoint, 2000.

Additional Short Story Publications:

  • The Big Room.” Ploughshares (Fall 1995).
  • Socorro.” Mississippi Review Web Edition 1.2 (May 1995).
  • Spots.” Enterzone, Episode 4 (1995).

Nonfiction:

  • (With Steven Barthelme) Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Other Works:

Bibliography

Articles and Book Reviews:

  • Aldridge, John W. Talents and Technicians: Literary Chic and the New Assembly Line Fiction. New York: Scribners, 1992.
  • Artner, Alan G. “Barthelme on Men Versus Women: ‘Appreciating the Oddness of Things.’” Rev. of Second Marriage, by Frederick Barthelme. Chicago Tribune Book World (7 Oct. 1984): sec. 14: 7.
  • Atwood, Margaret. “Male and Lonely.” Rev. of Moon Deluxe, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (31 July 1983): 1, 22.
  • Bernstein, Richard. “After a Loss at Blackjack, Trouble Was in the Cards.” Review of The Brothers, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (7 November 1997).
  • Brinkmeyer, Robert H. “Suburban Culture, Imaginative Wonder: The Fiction of Frederick Barthelme.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 27 (Fall 1994): 105-14.
  • Broyard, Anatole. “Books of the Times.” Review of Second Marriage, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times (28 September 1984).
  • Burroway, Janet. “Whatever Happens.” Rev. of The Brothers, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (10 October 1993): 15.
  • Carroll, Mary. Rev. of The Brothers. Booklist 90 (15 September 1993): 125.
  • De Haven, Tom. “Drive, She Said.” Rev. of Painted Desert. New York Times Book Review (24 September 1995).
  • Dodd, Susan M. “Alex Believes in Communicating.” Rev. of Tracer. New York Times Book Review (11 August 1985): 7.
  • Dyer, Geoff. Rev. of Second Marriage. New Statesman 110 (2 August 1985): 28.
  • Hempel, Amy. “A Hard Life for the Non-Poor.” Rev. of Natural Selection. New York Times Book Review (19 August 1990): 13.
  • Harvey, Miles. “Books: Vengeance and Cactus.” Rev. of Painted Desert. Outside Magazine(October 1995).
  • Kakutani, Michiko. “Books of The Times; Beyond Generic in Junk-Food Land.” Review of The Brothers, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times (12 October 1993).
  • Kaufmann, James. “Brand-Name Blues.” Rev. of Tracer, by Frederick Barthelme. Washington Post Book World (28 July 1985): 11.
  • Kaveney, Roz. Rev. of Second Marriage. The Times Literary Supplement (20 September 1985): 1028.
  • ---. Rev. of Tracer. The Times Literary Supplement (21 March 1986): 307.
  • Loewinsohn, Ron. “Looking for Love After Marriage.” Rev. of Second Marriage, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (30 Sep. 1984): 1, 43.
  • “Love’s Labor Lost.” Rev. of Second Marriage, by Frederick Barthelme. Newsweek (1 Oct. 1984): 87-88.
  • MacFarlane, David. “Adrift in a Modern Dream.” Rev. of Moon Deluxe, by Frederick Barthelme. MacLean’s (8 Aug. 1983): 51.
  • Moore, Michael, Scott. “Oh Fortuna.” Review of Bob the Gambler, by Frederick Barthelme. Boston Book Review (1 December 1997).
  • Percesepe, Gary. Rev. of The Brothers. Antioch Review 52 (Spring 1994): 369.
  • Pesetsky, Bette. “Rites of Shopping.” Rev. of Chroma, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (3 May 1987): 12.
  • Peters, Timothy. “The Eighties Pastoral: Frederick Barthelme’s Moon Deluxe Ten Years On.” Studies in Short Fiction 31.2 (Spring 1994): 175-95.
  • Prado, Holly. Rev. of Tracer, by Frederick Barthelme. Los Angeles Times Book Review(6 Oct. 1985): 14.
  • Prose, Francine. “Each Man Hates the Women He Loves.” Rev. of Two Against One, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (13 November 1988): 9.
  • Scott, A.O. “Security Risk.” Review of Bob the Gambler, by Frederick Barthelme. New York Times Book Review (12 October 1997).
  • St. John, Edward B. Review of The Brothers. Library Journal 118 (August 1993): 144.
  • Williams, Joan. “All the Lonely People.” Rev. of Moon Deluxe, by Frederick Barthelme. Washington Post Book World (28 Aug. 1983): 9.
  • Wing, Jeff. “Another Roadside Distraction.” Boston Book Review (1 December 1995).

Internet Resources

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