Animated Star 17th Annual Key West Literary Seminar Animated Star
January 7-10, 1999
Writers' Workshops - January 11-14, 1999
The American Novel, January 7-10, 1999 HARRY

MR. MATHEWS will be leading one of our writers' workshops this year.
HARRY MATHEWS was born in New York on Valentine's Day 1930. His parents did all they could to give their only son a best education. To an extent they succeeded: he learned to work efficiently enough so as not to have to learn much else. He graduated from Harvard highly uneducated. He did know one thing: in 1952, his comfortable Waspish world made him feel like a foreigner. He decided to become an honest-to-God foreigner. With their daughter Laura, he and his wife, Niki de Saint Phalle, moved to France to study what they thought were their respective crafts (music and theater). They there soon discovered their true vocations: writing and art. They stayed on. A son, Philip, was born in 1955. In 1958 they settled in a mountain village near Grenoble; there their marriage came to a difficult but necessary end.

Harry Mathews
Photo: Marie Chaix
Back in Paris, Mathews distractedly looked after his children for many years. Several crucial encounters took place: in 1956, with John Ashbery, a witty mentor who radically expanded Mathews's views of writing and introduced him to a new and agreeable New York; with Maxine Groffsky, who jubilantly guided him through and beyond the explosive 60s; with Georges Perec in 1970, who until his death in 1982 was Mathews's closest friend, introducing him the the Oulipo and its brilliant members, keeping his mind on an acceptably uneven keel, supporting his writing with ingenious resolution; finally, in 1976, with Marie Chaix, whose stupendous first novel Mathews just happened to translate and with whom he has lived ever since (the two were married in 1992).

In 1978 Mathews started teaching a semester in the United States each year, first at Bennington College, later at Columbia. Since 1991 he has spent at least half the year in America, mainly in Key West. Summers he and Marie return to the mountain village that he discovered forty years ago.

[email protected]

Animated book    BIBLIOGRAPHY    Animated book
  • The Conversions (Random House, 1962; reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press, 1997)
  • Tlooth (Doubleday: Paris Review Editions, 1966; reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press, 1998)
  • The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium (Harper & Row, 1975)
  • Country Cooking and other stories (Burning Deck, 1980)
  • Cigarettes (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1987; reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press, 1998)
  • Singular Pleasures (Dalkey Archive Press, 1993)
  • The Journalist (David R. Godine Books, 1994; reprinted by Dalkey Archive Press, 1997)

  • Armenian Papers: Selected Poems 1954-1984 (Princeton, 1987)
  • Out of Bounds (Burning Deck, 1989)
  • A Mid-Season Sky: Poems 1954-1991 (Carcanet, 1992)
  • An Epithalamium for Judith Kazantzis & Irving Weinman (The Grenfell Press, 1998)

  • Selected Declarations of Dependence (Z Press, 1977; reprinted by Sun & Moon, 1996)
  • The Way Home: Collected Longer Prose (London, Atlas Press, 1988; reprinted 1998)

  • Immeasurable Distances: The Collected Essays (Lapis Press, 1991)

Other Non-Fiction
  • Oulipo Compendium, co-edited with Alastair Brotchie (Atlas Press, 1998)
  • 20 Lines a Day (journal; Dalkey Archive Press, 1988)
  • The Orchard (memoir; Bamberger Books, 1988)
  • Giandomenico Tiepolo (essay, Editions Flohic, Paris, 1993)

  • Marie Chaix, The Laurels of Lake Constance (Viking, 1976)
  • Georges Bataille, Blue of Noon (Urizen, 1978)
  • Georges Perec, Ellis Island (The New Press, 1996)

Books in print (in US)
Oulipo Compendium
The Conversions
The Journalist
The Way Home
Selected Declarations of Dependence
Singular Pleasures
Armenian Papers
The Orchard
20 Lines a Day


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