Ronald Sukenick

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Ronald Sukenick (July 14, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York – July 22, 2004) was an American writer and literary theorist.


Sukenick studied at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York,[1][2] and Cornell University, and wrote his doctoral thesis, on Wallace Stevens, at Brandeis University.

After Roland Barthes announced the "death of the author", Sukenick carried the metaphor even further in "the death of the novel". He drew up a list of what is missing: reality doesn't exist, nor time or personality. He was widely recognized as a controversial writer who, frequently humorously, questioned and rejected the conventions of traditional fiction-writing. In novels, short stories, literary criticism and history, he often used himself, family members or friends as characters, sometimes quoting them in tape-recorded conversations. He did stints as writer in residence at Cornell University, the University of California, Irvine, and Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. But his books were never best-sellers. Sukenick once commented that he had "only forty fans, but they're all fanatics."

He referred to his career as a university professor as his "day job". He taught at Brandeis University, Hofstra University, City College of the City University of New York, Sarah Lawrence College, Cornell University, the State University of New York (Buffalo), and l'Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France. His most prolonged teaching career was at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he was professor of English from 1975-1999.

He was actively committed to publishing and promoting the writing of other unconventional writers. He was founder and publisher of American Book Review, and a founder of The Fiction Collective (now Fiction Collective Two). Sukenick was chairman of the Coordinating Council of Little magazines, and on the executive council of the Modern Language Association and the National Book Critics Circle.[3]

His archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.


He was divorced from Lynn Luria (Lynn Sukenick) in 1984. He lived with Julia Frey for many years, and they were formally married in 1992. Her book on Toulouse-Lautrec is now a standard work.[4] She collaborated on Sukenick's posthumously published story "For the Invisible, Against Thinking" set in Bali.

He died from the muscular disease inclusion body myositis, in 2004.[5]


  • A Wallace Stevens Handbook. Brandeis University. 1962.
  • Wallace Stevens: Musing the Obscure. New York University Press. 1967.
  • Up (novel). FC2. 1999 [Originally printed 1968]. ISBN 978-1-57366-045-7.
  • Death of the Novel and Other Stories (short story collection). FC2. 2003 [Originally printed 1969]. ISBN 978-1-57366-105-8.
  • Out: A Novel (novel). Swallow Press. 1973. ISBN 978-0-8040-0630-9.
  • 98.6 (novel). FC2. 1975. ISBN 978-0-914590-09-5.
  • Long Talking, Bad Conditions, Blues (novella). FC2. 1978. ISBN 978-0-914590-60-6.
  • In Form : Digressions on the Act of Fiction (1985)
  • Blown Away (novel). Sun & Moon Press. 1986. ISBN 978-0-940650-65-7.
  • The Endless Short Story (short story collection). FC2. 1986. ISBN 978-0-914590-95-8.
  • Down and In - Life in the Underground: Bohemian to Hip to Beat to Rock and Punk - Mutiny in American Culture. Beech Tree Books. 1987. ISBN 978-0-688-06589-8. autobiography
  • Doggy Bag: A Collection of Stories (short story collection). FC2. 1994. ISBN 978-0-932511-82-9.
  • Degenerative Prose: Writing Beyond Category (1995) editor with Mark Amerika
  • In the Slipstream : An FC2 Reader (1999) editor with Curtis White
  • Mosaic Man (novel). FC2. 1999. ISBN 978-1-57366-079-2.
  • Narralogues: Truth in Fiction. State University of New York Press. 2000. ISBN 978-0-7914-4400-9.
  • Cows (novel). Alt-X Digital Arts Foundation. 2001. ISBN 978-1-931560-10-8.
  • Moving Ahead
  • Last Fall (novel). FC2. 2005. ISBN 978-1-57366-123-2.
  • Charles Blackstone, Jill Talbot, ed. (2007). "For the Invisible, Against Thinking". The Art of Friction: Where (Non) Fictions Meet. The University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71891-3.



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ John Calder (22 September 2004). "Ronald Sukenick: US novelist building on the Beat generation". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (25 July 2004). "Ronald Sukenick, 72, Writer Who Toyed With the Rules". The New York Times.

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