Harry Mathews

Harry Mathews is an American who lives in France. His latest novels is The Journalist.


Harry Mathews, 28 November 1996

Twenty-eight years after his death, Marcel Duchamp continues to generate new readings of his life and work. Jerrold Seigel has absorbed eighty years’ worth of commentary and come forward with a reinterpretation in terms of Duchamp’s personal history. Noting that Duchamp ‘has become a kind of mythic presence in modern culture, a hero whose story we tell and retell for the sake of its exemplary lessons’, Seigel remarks that he ‘is said not only to have undermined the goal of seeking meaning through artistic activity, but also to have dissolved his own subjectivity as an artist … [But] far from being the product of a dissolved subjectivity, the objects and activities that defined Duchamp as a person and as an artist … fit together like pieces of a puzzle … to reproduce the pattern of his own peculiar … relationship to the world.’


Harry Mathews, 2 November 1995

The literary career of Isidore Ducasse, successor to Sade, Byron and Baudelaire and a model for Rimbaud, Jarry and the Surrealists, has been virtually a posthumous one. It has been chronically complicated furthermore by obsessions with the lacunae of his biography, as well as with the interpretation of the two names, Lautréamont and Maldoror, the first of which is a mystery and the second an enigma.

Words, too, can mean opposite things. This is a minority interest among those who want language to communicate plainly, but it’s of consummate interest to poets. In the procedural poems, you see how...

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Formication: Harry Mathews

Daniel Soar, 21 July 2005

In 1973, the American writer Harry Mathews, who was then in his mid-forties, was living in Paris. He had been divorced by his first wife, Niki de Saint Phalle; the editor Maxine Groffsky, with...

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Red makes wrong: Harry Mathews

Mark Ford, 20 March 2003

The OuLiPo, or Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais. The group’s initiatory text was a sequence of ten sonnets...

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