Robert Coover

February 23-24, 2009


Robert Coover

Robert Coover is an avant-garde novelist, critic and playwright lauded for experimental forms and techniques that mix reality and illusion, frequently creating otherworldly or surreal situations and effects. A leading proponent of hypertext fiction and metafiction, Mr. Coover is known as a true revolutionary in contemporary American literature and language.

Mr. Coover's first novel, The Origin of the Brunists, won the William Faulkner Award in 1966. He is also the recipient of the Brandeis University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment of the Arts, Rhode Island Governor's Arts, Pell, and Clifton Fadiman Awards, as well as Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Lannan Foundation, and DAAD fellowships. His latest honor is the Dugannon Foundation's REA award for his lifetime contribution to the short story.

His most recent books are The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors' Cut, Stepmother, and A Child Again. Other works include the collection of short fiction, Pricksongs and Descants, a collection of plays, A Theological Position, such novels as The Public Burning, Spanking the Maid, Gerald's Party, Pinocchio in Venice, John's Wife, Ghost Town and Briar Rose.

As the T.B. Stowell Adjunct Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Mr. Coover teaches courses in electronic writing and mixed media, including "CaveWriting," a spatial hypertext writing workshop in immersive virtual reality, as well as standard workshops. He is one of the founders of the Electronic Literature Organization and he created Brown's Freedom to Write Program in 1989. The New York Times said, "As his dazzling career continues to demonstrate, Mr. Coover is a one-man Big Bang of exploding creative force."

Reading segmented by works read

  1. introduction by Al Filreis (7:00): MP3
  2. introduction by Vince Levy (6:12): MP3
  3. "The New Thing" (10:30): MP3
  4. "In Anticipation of the Question Why Do You Write?'" (3:20): MP3
  5. a passage from The Public Burning (7:06): MP3
  6. "The Grand Hotel Nymph Light" from The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell) (10:43): MP3
  7. from Pinnochio in Venice (13:43): MP3
  8. reading from Noir (8:57): MP3

Segments selected from the discussion moderated by Al Filreis on February 24

  1. "The Fallguy's Faith" from A Child Again (5:48): MP3
  2. reading a passage about Charlie Chaplin from "Charlie and the House of Rue" (7:54): MP3
  3. beginning paragraphs of "Grandmother's Nose" from A Child Again (3:15): MP3
  4. complete discussion MP3