Frederic Tuten (b. 1935) and grew up in the Bronx, studied pre-Columbian art in Mexico, and lived for years in Brazil, Paris, Italy, and Berlin. He has been an essayist, news correspondent, and film reviewer for the New York Times, Vogue, Artforum, and Art in America. The author of five novels, his work has been admired by Susan Sontag, John Updike, Jonathan Coe, Richard Howard, Iris Murdoch, Harry Mathews, Julián Ríos, and even the great literary gamester Raymond Queneau. For fifteen years Tuten directed the Graduate Programme in Literature, Creative Writing, at the City College of New York, where he continues to give seminars in fiction writing. He has mentored some of America’s most impressive creative writers, including Oscar Hijuelos and Walter Mosley. Tuten is a Guggenheim Fellow in Creative Writing and was awarded the prestigious DAAD fellowship. He lives in New York.
Fiction by Frederic Tuten
with a contribution by John Updike
Frederic Tuten’s subversive, witty, and triumphant 1971 novel is caught somewhere between the clear-eyed rhapsodies of James Fenimore Cooper and Mao Tse Tung’s own Address to the Yenan Forum on Art and Literature. Tuten peppers his deadpan textbook narrative of Mao’s long march with loving parodies of Hemingway, Kerouac, Dos Passos, and Malamud. As John Updike comments, the book includes: "twenty-seven pages of straight history of the Long March" and "thirty-six and a half pages of quotations in quotation marks, from unidentified sources (such as, diligent research discovers, Hawthorne’s Marble Faun, Walter Pater’s Marius the Epicurean…) and twenty-six pages of what might be considered normal novelistic substance — imaginary encounters and conversation. For example: Chairman Mao is in his tent, after the strain of the Tatu campaign. He hears the rumble of a tank: ’A tank, covered with peonies and laurels, advances towards him. Mao thinks the tank will crush him, but it clanks to a halt. The turret rises, hesitantly. Greta Garbo, dressed in red sealskin boots, red railway-man’s cap, and red satin coveralls, emerges. She speaks: "Mao, I have been bad in Moscow and wicked in Paris, I have been loved in every capital, but I have never met a MAN whom I could love. That Man is you, Mao, Mao mine." Mao considers this dialectically. The woman is clearly mad. Yet she is beautiful and the tank seems to work.’…"
Fiction by Raymond Queneau
translated by Barbara Wright and Chris Clarke
with a contribution by Ben Marcus, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Jesse Ball, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Enrique Vila-Matas and Frederic Tuten
On a crowded bus at midday, Raymond Queneau observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man appropriates it. Later, in another part of town, Queneau sees the man being advised by a friend to sew a new button on his overcoat. Exercises in Style, Queneu’s experimental masterpiece and a hallmark book of the OULIPO literary group, retells this unexceptional tale in ninety-nine exceptional ways, employing writing styles such as the sonnet and the alexandrine, onomatopoeia and even Cockney.
A 65th Anniversary Edition includes twenty-five exercises by Queneau never before published in English translated by Chris Clarke, as well as new exercises by contemporary writers Jesse Ball, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Frederic Tuten, and Enrique Vila-Matas.