Author and scholar Raymond Federman '57 passed away earlier this month. Born in France in 1928, Federman witnessed the Gestapo's arrest of his parents and sisters in 1942, an event that would haunt his work in such books as Double or Nothing: A Real Fictitious Discourse and The Voice in the Closet. He spent the remainder of World War II in hiding on a farm in France; his parents and sisters died in Auschwitz.
After the war he emigrated to the United States and served with the U.S. Army in the Korean War. After completing his military service, he returned to continue his education at the School of General Studies, graduating in 1957. He earned master's and doctoral degrees at UCLA and began his teaching career at UC Santa Barbara before moving on to SUNY-Buffalo, where he taught French and comparative literature for 35 years.
Federman published critical works on Samuel Beckett but is most widely known for his postmodern fiction—or, in his terminology, surfiction—which disrupted conventional narrative expectations while simultaneously developing a particularly close relationship between author and reader, as suggested by the name of his literary alter ego, Moinous, a combination of "moi" and "nous." He received Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, as well as the American Book Award for his novel Smiles on Washington Square: A Love Story of Sorts, in addition to numerous other awards.