July 20, 2008
federman reading from the voice
Raymond Federman -- internationally acclaimed author of DOUBLE OR NOTHING, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, THE TWOFOLD VIBRATION, and more than 40 other titles -- reads a selection from his 20-page novel THE VOICE IN THE CLOSET, originally written as part of THE TWO-FOLD VIBRATION and currently in print from Starcherone Press.
The Voice in the Closet -- like much of Federman's surfiction, critifiction, laughterature deals both directly and obtusely, seriously and playfully, tenderly and violently, tragically and comically with his experiences during and after the Holocaust. A living legend.
Filmed at Naropa Summer Writing Program 2008, Boulder, CO.
Pour moi, dès que les événements [de ma vie ou de l’Histoire] passent dans le langage ils deviennent fictifs. Mallarmé l’a très s bien dit : Tout ce qui s’écrit est fictif. Donc ma réponse est simple : j’écris de la fiction, même si cette fiction semble raconter ma vie – réelle ou imaginée.
Le plus souvent les gens qui insistent que ce que j’écris est autobiographique ne savent rien de ma vie. Voila ce que j’ai dit à un éditeur qui avait refusé le manuscrit de La fourrure de ma tante Rachel, parce qu’il le trouvait trop autobiographique : Mais monsieur que savez-vous de ma vie pour dire cela? Et il me répondit : Rien.
There is a question that is always asked when I give an interview. The relationship between my life and my fiction. This is a question I cannot avoid. But I would clarify this once and for all. Yes, a good part of the stories I tell in my books are based on events that I have lived. But I insist. What I write is not autobiographical fiction, and certainly not what the French like to call, autofiction. In fact, it is quite possible that the books I write are not novels - novels in the sense that publishers give to this type of books. The subtitle of Double or Nothing [the first volume of the big book I’ve been writing for more than forty years] states clearly what I write: a real fictitious discourse.
For me, as soon as the events [of my life or of history] are related with words they become fictitious. Mallarmé said it very clearly: all that is written is fictitious. Therefore, my answer is simple: I write fiction, even if this fiction seems to tell the story of my life – real or imagined.
Often the people who insist on saying that what I write is autobiographical know nothing about my life. This is what I once asked a publisher who rejected the manuscript of My Aunt Rachel’s Fur because he found it too autobiographical: but sire, what do you know about my life to say this? And he replied: nothing.