if it is not in the spirit of a rather-too-tedious request for information, could one of you map out the corpus of donald barthelme for me?

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in that i have read sixty stories, and some of forty stories, and don't really understand how much of his stuff i have read, and what i ought to be reading next; i have also read 'snow white' and 'the dead father', the latter of which twice, i think.

tom west (thomp), Sunday, 29 January 2006 03:28 (eighteen years ago) link

Dude, you need ot go talck to Jessamyn 'cause she is all about Bartheleme. Truly.

Jaq (Jaq), Sunday, 29 January 2006 04:11 (eighteen years ago) link

Kim Herzinger is supposedly still working on a collection of all the stories that aren't in 60 and 40, but I don't expect to see this anytime soon.

Two posthumous collections: 'The Teachings of Don B' (miscellaneous Barthelmismo) and 'Not-Knowing' (essays, interviews, reviews) are well worth getting.

There are actually four novels: 'Snow White', 'The Dead Father', 'Paradise' and 'The King'. The last two are notably slighter and sadder than the first two, but still worth a gander.

Story collections:
Come Back, Dr. Caligari
Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts
City Life
Guilty Pleasures
Great Days
Overnight to Many Distant Cities

All of which have two or three stories that didn't make it into the two anthologies.

There's also a children's book - 'The slightly irregular fire engine', which I am waiting for a rich benefactor to buy me, and a few single story pamphlets.

This site is pretty comprehensive.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Sunday, 29 January 2006 11:24 (eighteen years ago) link


i will resurrect this when my copy of 'The Teachings' i just ordered arrives

tom west (thomp), Sunday, 29 January 2006 18:57 (eighteen years ago) link

Here's Jessamyn West's Barthelme page. She hosts many of the stories on her site, with permission from his brother Frederick.

Jaq (Jaq), Sunday, 29 January 2006 19:08 (eighteen years ago) link

I get the Nipper's "royal virgin" profile now!

Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Sunday, 29 January 2006 23:51 (eighteen years ago) link

i have been reading the teachings of don b., which titular reference i didn't get, actually, until i read the titular piece. which was funny, in a way, if not in other ways. like lots of the pieces here it seems like it could have been written by many other new yorker contributors. like, for instance, 'wasteland!', in which lionel bart adapts t.s. eliot, could easily be in that anthology of woody allen's light prose. and probably would be funnier, there.

that said there's a lot that is unmistakably barthelme-ish, and lots that i would not have said was "unmistakably barthelme-ish" had it been described to me, but having read it certainly is, like his terrifying, terrifying recipes, which seem to be approaching a point we might call "take 12 dozen campbell's soup cans..."

barthelme seems to improve with more barthelme.

i would quite like to make a mission of reading the barthelme syllabus. is there anyone here that would join me in that? i do mean syllabus and not corpus, i mean the 81-book thing.

i am stalled on the teachings right now because i have got to six "interchapters" from overnight to many distant cities. i am not entirely certain as to the identity of an 'interchapter', but i fear that reading six of them in a row is to frustrate their purpose.

tom west (thomp), Friday, 10 February 2006 15:47 (eighteen years ago) link

tom, I'd be up for the syllabus!

Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Saturday, 11 February 2006 18:37 (eighteen years ago) link

im reading 60 stories, i think i dont like it, i think i might like it, it reminds me of updike and kafka

Anthony Easton, Wednesday, 15 February 2006 11:22 (eighteen years ago) link

are the bits that remind you of updike generally separate from the bits that remind you of kafka, or is it not that clear-cut?

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 11:27 (eighteen years ago) link

no one else for the syllabus?


tom west (thomp), Saturday, 18 February 2006 14:56 (eighteen years ago) link

I suppose I'm in favor of others doing it.

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 18 February 2006 17:06 (eighteen years ago) link

i'll start a thread when i get fifty percent through philip k dick.

did the order i made on yr label show up alright? i realised the other day i didn't know if paypal gave you my address or not

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 18 February 2006 18:21 (eighteen years ago) link

No, no it did not! Let me investigate.


OMG! There are a few orders I had no idea about! Crap!

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 18 February 2006 19:07 (eighteen years ago) link


is there one through from my displayed email address's paypal account? it should have a delivery address in staffordshire, uk; if this isn't how things are could you email me at um t0m.w3st@gm41l.com, only, you know, with proper letters? hope that's not too much of a pig's ear and so forth

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 18 February 2006 19:52 (eighteen years ago) link

I am sort of offended!

Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Sunday, 19 February 2006 01:31 (eighteen years ago) link

i am sorry! i apologise!

tom west (thomp), Sunday, 19 February 2006 03:40 (eighteen years ago) link

sixteen years pass...

In July 1986 the New Yorker published Donald Barthelme's "More Zero; A Novel of Los Anomies" which was a spoof of "Less Than Zero" by Bret Easton Ellis: pic.twitter.com/snok1HRcJa

— Brian Davey (@b_davey) November 8, 2022

This looks better to me than most Barthelme looks to me.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 9 November 2022 10:16 (one year ago) link


Me and the Major on the Moon (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 9 November 2022 10:17 (one year ago) link

from the Forgotten Novelists thread:

Barthelme's "Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning" was a revelation to teen me: each paragraph was like, a scene, man, but of what and from what it was up to me to decide, also how much it mattered, since I also had the impression of index cards as playing cards. Wrote something like that, deliberately on my teen level, about a girl I knew, to an extent.
Dave Hickey wrote about DB's Come Back, Dr. Caligari as a crucial breakthrough for his own writing---not, alas, his fiction, which he was already fleeing (this is the afterword to his remarkable Prior Convictions: Stories From The Sixties).
So now I want to read that one, at least. Some of the later DB stories I came across seemed like scenic routes to Dad jokes, but will keep an eye out for whatever.
― dow, Saturday, 1 October 2022
"RKSVD" was published in an early issue of New American Review, the redoutable mass market pb lit mag (b.1967-d.1977).

dow, Wednesday, 9 November 2022 17:52 (one year ago) link

"RKSFD" that should be

dow, Wednesday, 9 November 2022 17:53 (one year ago) link

If you go looking for issues, also check for the modified title:

It was initially called New American Review, published and distributed as a paperback book by the New American Library, and while it continued publication at Simon & Schuster, but shortened its name to American Review when it moved to Bantam Books in 1973.

dow, Wednesday, 9 November 2022 18:03 (one year ago) link

Lots of good stuff!

dow, Wednesday, 9 November 2022 18:04 (one year ago) link

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