Coover, Robert 1932–

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Coover, Robert 1932–

(Robert Lowell Coover)

PERSONAL: Born February 4, 1932, in Charles City, IA; son of Grant Marion and Maxine (Sweet) Coover; married Maria del Pilar Sans-Mallafré, June 3, 1959; children: Diana Nin, Sara Chapin, Roderick Luis. Education: Attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1949–51; Indiana University at Bloom ington, B.A., 1953; University of Chicago, M.A., 1965.

ADDRESSES: Home—Providence, RI. Agent—Georges Borchardt, Inc., 136 East 57th St., New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Writer of fiction, plays, essays, and poetry. Instructor, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 1966–67, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1967–69, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1972–73, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1972, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, 1976, and Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 1981; Brown University, Providence, RI, began as writer-in-residence, then distinguished professor, beginning 1981. Producer and director of film On a Confrontation in Iowa City, 1969. Organized conference on literature, "Unspeakable Practices: A Three-Day Celebration of Iconoclastic American Fiction," Brown University, 1988. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1953–57; became lieutenant.

MEMBER: American Academy of Arts and Letters.

AWARDS, HONORS: William Faulkner Award for best first novel, 1966, for The Origin of the Brunists; Rockefeller Foundation grant, 1969; Guggenheim fellowships, 1971, 1974; citation in fiction from Brandeis University, 1971; Academy of Arts and Letters award, 1975; National Book Award nomination, 1977, for The Public Burning; National Endowment for the Humanities award, 1985; Rea Award, Dungannan Foundation, 1987, for A Night at the Movies; DAAD fellowship, 1991.



The Origin of the Brunists, Putnam (New York, NY), 1966, reprinted, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2000.

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Random House (New York, NY), 1968.

The Public Burning, Viking (New York, NY), 1977.

Spanking the Maid, Bruccoli-Clark (Bloomfield Hills, MI), 1981.

Gerald's Party, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears?, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

Pinocchio in Venice, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

John's Wife, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Ghost Town, Holt (New York, NY), 1998.

The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Directors' Cut, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2002.

The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell) Burning Deck (New York, NY), 2002.


Pricksongs & Descants, Dutton (New York, NY), 1969, reprinted, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2002.

The Water Pourer, Bruccoli-Clark (Bloomfield Hills, MI), 1972.

The Hair o' the Chine, Bruccoli-Clark (Bloomfield Hills, MI), 1979.

A Political Fable, Viking (New York, NY), 1980.

Charlie in the House of Rue, Penmaen Press (Great Barrington, MA), 1980.

The Convention, Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1981.

In Bed One Night and Other Brief Encounters, Burning Deck (Providence, RI), 1983.

Aesop's Forest (bound with The Plot of the Mice and Other Stories by Brian Swann), Capra Press (Santa Barbara, CA), 1986.

A Night at the Movies; or, You Must Remember This, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

Briar Rose, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1996.


The Kid (also see below), first produced in New York, NY, at American Place Theater, November 17, 1972, produced in London, England, 1974.

A Theological Position (contains A Theological Position, Rip Awake, The Kid, and Love Scene; also see below), Dutton (New York, NY), 1972.

Scène d'amour, first produced in Paris, France, at Troglodyte Theater, 1973, produced as Love Scene in New York, NY, March 20, 1974.

Rip Awake, first produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1975.

A Theological Position, first produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1977, produced in New York, NY, 1979.

Bridge Hand, first produced in Providence, RI, 1981.

Spanking the Maid, first produced, 1987.

A Pedestrian Accident, first produced, 1998.

Charlie in the House of Rue, first produced, 1999.


(And director) On a Confrontation in Iowa City (screenplay), University of Iowa, 1969.

(Editor, with Kent Dixon) The Stone Wall Book of Short Fiction, Stone Wall Press (Washington, DC), 1973.

(Editor, with Elliott Anderson) Minute Stories, Braziller (New York, NY), 1976.

(Author of introduction) Statements Two, edited by Jonathan Baumbach, Fiction Collective Two (New York, NY), 1977.

After Lazarus: A Filmscript, Bruccoli-Clark (Bloom-field Hills, MI), 1980.

(Author of introduction) Wilfrido D. Nolledo, But for the Lovers, by Dalkey Archive Press, 1994.

Stepmother (fairy tale), illustrated by Michael Kupper-man, McSweeney's, 2004.

Work represented in anthologies, including New American Review 4, New American Library (New York, NY), 1968, New American Review 14, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1972, and American Review, Bantam (New York, NY), 1974. Contributor of short stories, po-ems, essays, reviews, and translations to numerous periodicals, including Noble Savage, Quarterly Review, Argosy, Evergreen Review, Iowa Review, Antaeus, Saturday Review, New York Times Book Review, Granta, Fiction International, and Fiddlehead. Fiction editor, Iowa Review, 1975–77.

ADAPTATIONS: The Baby Sitter has been adapted for the stage; "Pedestrian Accident" has been made into an opera; "The Leper's Helix" was performed as a chamber work.

SIDELIGHTS: Since beginning his career in the 1960s, Robert Coover has emerged as one of the leading American postmodern writers. As is true of his peers—John Barth, Donald Barthelme, William Gass, and Thomas Pynchon—Coover experiments with traditional fictional forms and familiar stories, twisting them in ways that challenge society's assumptions. He of ten mixes reality with illusion, creating alternative worlds. Critics have used such terms as "amazing," "fantastic," and "magic" to describe the effect of his fiction. Time contributor Paul Gray, for one, noted that Coover has won a "reputation as an avant-gardist who can do with reality what a magician does with a pack of cards: Shuffle the familiar into unexpected patterns." Coover usually begins his novels with ordinary subjects and events, then introduces elements of fantasy and fear that, when left unhindered, grow to equal, if not surpass, what is real within the situation. Michael Mason said in Times Literary Supplement that he believed Coover structures his novels around the idea of "an American superstition giving rise to its appropriate imaginary apocalypse."

The Origin of the Brunists, Coover's first and most conventional novel, chronicles the rise and fall of a fictitious religious cult. This cult arises when the sole survivor of a mining disaster, Giovanni Bruno, claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary and rescued via divine intervention. As the cult gains followers and generates hysteria, the furor is fueled by a local newspaper editor until the situation reaches what Philip Callow of Books & Bookmen termed "apocalyptic proportions." Although some critics, including Callow, found the novel's conclusion disappointing and anticlimactic, others, such as New Statesman contributor Miles Burrows, described the book as being "a major work in the sense that it is long, dense, and alive to a degree that makes life outside the covers almost pallid."

In a New Republic review of Coover's second novel, The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Richard Gilman wrote, "What this novel summons to action is our sense … of the possible substitution of one world for another, of the way reality implies alternatives." The book's protagonist, Henry Waugh, is bored with his job and his life. To alleviate his boredom, he creates, within his imagination, an entire baseball league, complete with statistics and team and player names and histories. Plays, players, and fates are determined by dice, and Waugh, according to Gilman, presides "over this world of chance with a creator's calm dignity." When the dice rule that a favored player must die during a game, both Waugh's imaginary and real worlds fall apart. Waugh could, of course, choose to ignore the dice's decision, but to do so would be in violation of "the necessary laws that hold the cosmos together," a Time reviewer explained. At the novel's end, Waugh disappears from the story, leaving his players to fashion their own existence, myths, and rituals.

National Observer critic Clifford A. Ridley commented that The Universal Baseball Association, Inc. "is a novel about continuity, about order, about reason, about God, and about the relationships between them. Which is to say that it is a parable of human existence, but do not feel put off by that; for it is a parable couched in such head-long, original prose and set down in a microcosmos of such consistent fascination that it is far too busy entertaining to stop and instruct." Red Smith, however, writing in the Washington Post Book World, disagreed, remarking that "A little fantasy goes a long way … and after an imaginary beanball kills an imaginary play er the author never finds the strike zone again. It all becomes a smothering bore." New York Review critic Ronald Sukenick shared Smith's assessment of the novel's second half: "Baseball has already been made to carry a heavy cargo in this book," he wrote, "but now it gets heavier. With the plausibility of the actual game lost, the philosophical freight begins to take over."

Pricksongs & Descants, Coover's collection of short fiction pieces, has been widely praised. The author's experimental forms and techniques produce "extreme verbal magic," according to Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in New York Times. "Nothing in Mr. Coover's writing is quite what it seems to be," the critic continued. "In the pattern of the leaves there is always the smile of the Cheshire Cat." And Marni Jackson explained in Critique that "an innocent situation develops a dozen sinister possibilities, sprouting in the reader's imagination while they are suspended, open-ended, on the page…. Every disturbing twist the story might take is explored; all of them could have happened, or none…. Like a good conjurer, even when you recognize his gimmicks, the illusion continues to work."

With The Public Burning Coover returns to longer fiction and pushes his exploration of alternative realities to new levels, further blurring the distinction between fact and fiction. The book can be called a "factional" account of the 1953 conviction and execution of alleged spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A satire on the mood and mentality of the nation at the time of the Rosenbergs' execution, the novel loosely combines events from both history and its author's imagination. Coover sets the site of the electrocutions in New York City's Times Square, adds surrealistic parodies of various personalities and events of the era, and provides then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon as the narrator-commentator. Reaction to the book has included admiration for Coover's creative efforts as well as criticism that those efforts go too far. Piers Brendon described the novel in Books & Bookmen as a "literary photo-montage" and "a paean of American self-hatred, a torrid indictment of the morally bankrupt society where for so long Nixon was the one." Lehmann-Haupt stated in a New York Times review that he was "shocked and amazed" by the book; "The Public Burning," he explained, "is an astonishing spectacle. It does not invite us to participate…. It merely allows us to watch, somewhat warily, as its author performs."

In New York Times Book Review Thomas R. Edwards noted that "horror and anger are the governing feelings" in Coover's 1977 novel. "As a work of literary art," he commented, "The Public Burning suffers from excess…. But all vigorous satire is simplistic and excessive, and this book is an extraordinary act of moral passion." Brendon was similarly impressed by the novel's scope and also aware of its ultimate shortcomings: "The Public Burning is an ambitious failure. It is a huge, sprawling, brilliant, original exercise in literary photo-montage. It combines fact and fiction, comedy and terror, surrealism and satire, travesty and tragedy. [But it] is too overblown, too undisciplined, too crude, too lurid."

The novel Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears? is another alternative reality story with Richard Nixon as a character. This time, a young Nixon follows his success on the football fields of Whittier, California, not with a career in politics but with a career in professional football. His rise and fall comes not in Washi ngton, but in Chicago. In the late 1930s, Nixon—known here as Gloomy Gus—falls in with several Chicago labor activists, including the book's narrator, Meyer, a sculptor. On Memorial Day of 1937, in a crowd of demonstrators picketing Republic Steel, Gus catches a police bullet and dies. Meyer looks back to tell this story—a story that challenges the reader by warping historical events—and as Christopher Walker commented in New Statesman, "At [Nixon's] expense Coover reveals 'the inherent contradictions in the American dream' in a book which is both touching and hilariously funny."

While Coover often manipulates historical events for his artistic purposes, he does so with a solid knowledge of the facts. As Sara Paretsky noted in Chicago's Tribune Books, "Coover obviously knows Richard Nixon's life well. He displays the same careful research into events of the '30s on the streets of Chicago and the battlefields of Spain." And New York Times Book Review contributor Richard Kelly felt that Coover's fictionalized Nixon captures the essence of the man Americans came to know through his political ups and downs. "Gloomy Gus is Richard Nixon," Kelly said, "in all his awkward triumphs, in all the plodding determination every act takes, in the hars hlight of the will that makes every act equal to every other." Still, Kelly believed that "Coover's Richard Nixon is a nobler, stupider character than history's." Through this character, he concluded, "Coover shows us the madness of the will as it operates without intelligence, and makes us think about that most secret of all our transg ressions, the deep sin of being innocent."

Kelly was impressed with Coover's artistry; he maintained that Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus of the Chicago Bears? "has all Mr. Coover's delight in technique, his inventive brio, his earthy humor, along with the passion for justice that marks all his writings." He added that in this work in particular the author "takes hold of the ordinary novel and, with apparent modesty, briskly renovates its traditional features." But Los Angeles Times Book Review contributor John Schulian dismissed the work as "an inflated short story." Schulian added that "Coover has undercut the very lesson his book was supposed to teach. He has paid attention to history, but he has repeated it—and himself—anyway." In Kelly's view, however, Gloomy Gus represents its author well. "Coover is one of our masters now," the critic wrote. "The tumultuous, Babylonian exuberance of his mind is fueled and directed by his equally passionate craftsmanship. He seems to be able to do anything, and this funny, bitter, human book is fair proof of it."

In Pinocchio in Venice Coover updates the story originated by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi in 1883 about the puppet who became a boy. "Coover's adult fable … comes closer to the stern morality of the early Italian story than Disney's saccharine film ever did," observed Constance Markey in Chicago's Tribune Books. Times Literary Supplement reviewer Lorna Sage characterized Coover's update as "a hilariously phallic riposte, a carnivalesque reprise all about the agonies and delights of turning back to wood. His Pinocchio, after a century of humanity, opts for the dry rot and the unstrung joints, follows his nose and looks to his roots." Coover's Pinoc chio has grown up and grown old, one hundred years old. After a long career as a renowned professor and philosopher in U.S. universities, he decides to return to his native Italy. In Venice he encounters all the characters from his past—the fox, the cat, the puppets in the traveling show, and the blue fairy—all in new guises. "One ecstatic dis aster follows on another," noted Sage, who went on to observe that Coover's fun "is perfectly nightmarish—murderous in its intensity, chilling in the thoroughness with which it scatters and splinters the remnants of 'character.'" In the end, according to Markey, Pinocchio's updated story "requires that the reader take a new hard look at his own wooden-headed ways, mulish choices and false blue fantasies."

As with his previous novels, Coover stretches the boundaries of content and form in his version of Pinocchio. By playing with reality, the author creates a type of magical realism, according to critic Anthony Burgess. However, as Burgess explained in the New York Times Book Review, "The Coover version is not magical realism of the Latin American and Salman Rushdie type but Rabelaisian fantasy, with no child readers allowed." As for the author's experimentation with form, Burgess commented that "Coover is one of America's quirkiest writers, if by 'quirky' we mean an unwillingness to abide by ordinary fictional rules and a conviction that a novel is primarily a verbal artifact unconvertible to other media." This manipulation of words pervades Pinocchio in Venice, and, according to a reviewer for the Atlantic, his language is more style than substance, his substance being "yet another lament for the human condition—the game that we all lose in the end." However, in the view of Los Ange les Times Book Review critic Richard Eder, "When you get through the bramble hedges of his wordplay and reality-play, you find a winning sympathy for his stick-figure pedant, along with a meditation on humanity vs. art." "In short, Pinocchio in Venice is one very funny, solid book; moving, too, with not a wooden line or ill-morti sed joint to be found," concluded Brooke Horvath in Review of Contemporary Fiction.

John's Wife is a complex, convoluted novel that, according to Michael Harris in the Los Angeles Times, offers its reader many layers of meaning. The critic suggested that the novel is "on one level a bawdy and deadly satire of good-ol'-boy mores; on another level a complex portrait of the townspeople … on still another, a ph ilosophical inquiry into the relationship between life and art." John is a builder whose money, ambition, and works are the heart of a small Midwestern town. He is an object of both love and hatred for his fellow townspeople, but his wife is an object of obsession. Each of the townspeople has his or her own image of John's wife; she stands at the center of each character's imagination while, in reality, she remains elusive. The result, as Jennifer Howard observed in Washington Post Book World, is that "the town … lives in a frenzy of desire, much of it unwholesome."

Brad Leithauser, writing in the New York Times Book Review, considered John's Wife to be "a rambling, reiterated and squalid affair" and dubbed Coover's writing "overworked: too much fuss, not enough fineness." Yet a reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that the novelist's "prose is, as always, biting and sugges tive, a spicy blend of erudition and scatology, epic and farce." And, in Howard's opinion, "Coover knows how to put a sentence together, often brilliantly." She also commented that Coover's method for unraveling his plot has merits: "He employs a kind of circular storytelling technique that's intriguing if sometimes confusing." New York Times critic Lehmann-Haupt was intrigued by this storytelling technique as well. "At first, the proliferation of townspeople in 'John's Wife' is mind numbing," he noted. "But then gradually, almost eerily, as the narrative keeps circling back and digging deeper, you begin to remember their stories as vividly as your own pas t." Considering the author's crafting of the form and content of this novel, Harris conceded that "Coover's skills are formidable, and this story of the power of flux to disrupt memory, community and desire … has to be one of the year's most ambitious novels, and one of its funniest."

In a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, Coover's Briar Rose reinterprets the conventions of a fairy tale. Infusing his version with more sexuality than the traditional version of the story, the author spins a tale about storytelling itself, in the opinion of New York Times Book Review contributor Michael Gorra. Using humor to energize the traditional tale, the author structures it so that, in Gorra's words, "this short and almost perfect book seems—paradoxically, blissfully—to go on forever." Michael Upchurch, writing in Chicago's Tribune Books, speculated that whereas other novelists work with the thought of film options foremost in their minds, Briar Rose "seems custom-designed to make a nifty computer game" since it "consists of almost nothing but false starts, wrong turns, spiral staircases, a 'door that is not a door' and other endlessly mutable narrative pathways that frustrate its beleaguered heroes." Thus Rose, the Sleeping Beauty figure held captive in a tower by an old crone, is plagued by a series of nightmares that create an environment that, Upchurch suggested, should be "familiar to anyone who has … tried to track down reliable reference material on the Internet." These nightmares, induced by the crone's dark magical powers, create the impression of what Upchurch described as "false starts" and "wrong turns": in one, the handsome prince who will rescue Rose turns out to already have a wife; in another, not a prince but a toad wakes her, and—in a reversal of another fairy tale theme—his kiss turns her into a toad as well. "Coover's prose," warned Upchurch, "with its manneristic flourishes and acrobatic syntax, won't be to everyone's liking"; nonetheless, he suggested that great rewards await those who give the book their full attention.

More recently, Coover published his version of a western novel with Ghost Town. Here, the author uses stereotyped characters and disconnected situations that skip around with no attention to plot development. As Allen Barra pointed out in a review, the novel "isn't so much a western as a novel about westerns." The main character is a loner and drifter who finds himself in a stereotypical town complete with the usual ranchers, saloon keepers, outlaws, and saloon girls. However, in this town, people are constantly changing their roles, as does the loner himself, who shifts from outlaw to sheriff and back to outlaw. Even the buildings shift and rearrange themse lves from scene to scene. There is also a combination of humorous dialogue mixed with shoot-em-up violence in the book, though characters who are killed fail to stay dead; instead, they reappear later in other roles as if the reader were watching several different western movies starring the same actors. Adding to the confusion is the drifter's un reliable memory about things that have happened to him in the past. "Coover's concern is with the mythology of the western," said Barra, "but your reaction to Ghost Town is less likely to hinge on your feelings about westerns that about metafiction in general."

Review of Contemporary Fiction critic Robert L. McLaughlin felt that the overall effect of the book can cause readers to reconsider some American myths. "In subverting the narrative conventions of Westerns," McLaughlin wrote, "Ghost Town reveals a version of the American and a vision of America they usually keep masked. Coo ver has aimed at the dangerous absurdities of our national myth, as embodied in our stories of the frontier, and has hit his target with brilliant force."

Other critics, however, felt the book leaves something to be desired. For example, World Literature Today reviewer Robert Murray Davis found the story "dull and confusing," and Edward B. St. John, writing in Library Journal, remarked that although he admired the author's technical prowess, Ghost Town is still "a book easier to admire than to love."

In his ambitious novel The Adventures of Lucky Pierre: Director's Cut, Coover tackles the genre of pornography in order to "confront readers with assumptions about reality and how the mind works," according to Richard Bernstein in the New York Times. The story is about veteran porn actor Lucky Pierre, who despite abundant ple asure, doesn't feel so lucky. Lucky Pierre strides through Cinecity, a metropolis where porn movies are the stuff of life, thinking himself trapped "inside a box of artificial light even as it pulled him in all directions at once and has given him no life, no center of his own." With no name to hold on—he has different names in all his roles—and serving as a sex slave to women who are his directors and co-stars, Lucky Pierre cannot tell what around him is real and what is illusory.

Critics were divided about Coover's novel, Los Angeles Times contributor Susan Salter Reynolds expressing impatience with the novel's plot, which she found "so tenuous that its comprehension depends more on readers' imagination than is the case in more conventional fiction." Entertainment Weekly reviewer Troy Patterson stated that, given the novel's "cornucopia of cartoon depravities and the self-analytical orchestrations of its 'plot,' this pomo porno is begging to be called mastur-batory." On the other hand, Bernstein among others applauded Coover's risk-taking, saying that in The Adventures of Lucky Pierre he "writes about sex as it's never been written about before, with a sly, detached precision that captures the unillusioned and undeterred Freudian id. Mr. Coover can be seen as the inverse of another writer about sex, the Marquis de Sade."

Because of his interest in experimenting with form, Coover has explored not only the novel and short story, but also poetry, plays, and filmscripts. His "interest in film has been evident in his fiction, which often relies blatantly on cinematic techniques," noted Larry McCaffery and Sinda J. Gregory in the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1981. "He finds interesting the notion of cinematic montage or juxtaposition, the ability of cinema to manipulate time, its great sense of immediacy, its mixture of what he calls 'magic and documentary power'—all of which have potential applications in fiction." He has also been intrigued by the possibilities of hype rtext—the branching, multiplex, interactive writing made possible by computers and the Internet. In a New York Times Book Review article on the growing presence of hypertext literature, Coover admitted he was not "likely to engage in any major hypertext fictions of my own. But, interested as ever in the subversion of the traditional bour geois novel and in fictions that challenge linearity, I felt that something was happening out (or in) there and that I ought to know what it was." To this end, Coover began reading and reviewing hypertext writing, launched a university course to introduce students to its possibilities, and has publicized both hypertext fictions and the software that makes them possible.

Coover is often cited as a major voice in the experimental branch of literature labeled "postmodern" fiction. As Joyce Carol Oates commented in Southern Review: the writer "exists blatantly and brilliantly in his fiction as an authorial consciousness…. He will remind readers of William Gass, of John Barth, of Samuel Beckett. He is as surprising as any of these writers, and as funny as Donald Barthelme; both crude and intellectual, predictable and alarming, he gives the impression of thoroughly enjoying his craft." Still, as Lois G. Gordon wrote in Robert Coover: The Universal Fictionmaking Process, the novelist "has developed a style unique among his conte mporaries, mixing so-called fact and fiction with realism and surrealism, merging narrative line with adjacent and 'descanting' poetic or fragmentary evocations of moral, mythic, historical, philosophical, and psychological dimensions." In his review of Pricksongs & Descants for the New York Times, Lehmann-Haupt dubbed Coover simply "among the best we now have writing."



Anderson, Richard, Robert Coover, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1981.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 3, 1975, Volume 7, 1977, Volume 15, 1980, Volume 32, 1985, Volume 46, 1988, Volume 87, 1995.

Cope, Jackson I., Robert Coover's Fictions, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1986.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 2: American Novelists since World War II, 1978, Volume 227: American Novelists since World War II, Sixth Series, 2000.

Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook: 1981, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1982.

Gado, Frank, First Person: Conversations on Writers and Writing, Union College Press (Schenectady, NY), 1973.

Gass, William, Fiction and the Figures of Life, Knopf (New York, NY), 1971.

Gordon, Lois G., Robert Coover: The Universal Fictionmaking Process, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1983.

Kennedy, Thomas E., Robert Coover: A Study of the Short Fiction, Twayne (New York, NY), 1992.

LeClair, Thomas, and Larry McCaffery, Interviews with Contemporary American Novelists, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1982.

Maltby, Paul, Dissident Postmodernists: Barthelme, Coover, Pynchon, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

McCaffery, Larry, The Metafictional Muse: The Works of Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, and William Gass, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1982.

McKeon, Z. Karl, Novels and Arguments, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1982.

Modern American Literature, fifth edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Pearce, Richard D., The Novel in Motion: An Approach to Modern Fiction, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH), 1983.

Pughe, Thomas, Comic Sense: Reading Robert Coover, Stanley Elkin, Philip Roth, Birkhauser Verlag (Basel, Switzerland), 1994.

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Schulz, Max, Black Humor Fiction of the 1960s, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1973.

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Antioch Review, fall, 2003, Daniel Green, "Postmodern American Fiction," p. 729.

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Biblio, September, 1998, Nicholas A. Basbanes, "The Traditionalist and the Revolutionary," p. 10.

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Books & Bookmen, May, 1967, Philip Callow, review of The Origin of the Brunists; August, 1978, Piers Brendon, review of The Public Burning.

Choice, September, 2003, B.H. Leeds, "Understanding Robert Coover," p. 147.

Critique, Volume 11, number 3, 1969, pp. 11-29; Volume 17, number 1, p. 78; Volume 31, number 2, 1990, p. 85; Volume 33, number 3, p. 29; Volume 34, number 4, 1993, p. 220; Volume 35, number 2, 1994, p. 67; fall, 2000 (special Coover issue), Larry McCaffery, "As Guilty as the Rest of Them: An Interview with Robert Coover," p. 115; spring, 2004, Barbara Bond, "Postmodern Mannerism: An Examination of Robert Coover's Pinocchio in Venice," p. 273.

Cue, November 25, 1972.

Economist, November 14, 1998, review of Ghost Town, p. S6.

Entertainment Weekly, December 6, 2002, Troy Patterson, review of Lucky Pierre, p. 103.

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London Review of Books, April 17, 1986, p. 18; September 17, 1987, p. 19.

Los Angeles Times, February 6, 1987; April 22, 1996, p. E3.

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Modern Language Review, October 2003, Kathryn Hume, "Robert Coover: The Metaphysics of Bondage," p. 827.

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New Statesman, April 13, 1967, Miles Burrows, review of The Origin of the Brunists; June 16, 1978; May 16, 1986, p. 28; February 13, 1987; November 27, 1987, p. 33; July 1, 1988, p. 44.

Newsweek, December 1, 1969; January 5, 1987, p. 58.

New Yorker, December 23, 2002, review of Lucky Pierre, p. 155.

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New York Times Book Review, July 7, 1968; August 14, 1977, p. 9; June 27, 1982; December 29, 1985, p. 1; February 1, 1987, p. 15; September 27, 1987, p. 9; July 30, 1989, p. 28; January 27, 1991, pp. 3, 31; June 21, 1992, p. 1; January 3, 1993, p. 20; August 29, 1993, p. 1; April 7, 1996, p. 7; February 16, 1997, pp. 10-11; September 27, 1998, Sven Birkerts, "Horseman, Pass By!"

Notes on Contemporary Literature, November, 1995, p. 5.

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Partisan Review, fall, 1997, pp. 609-610.

Publishers Weekly, December 26, 1986; July 10, 1987; July 1, 1988; February 5, 1996, p. 75; November 25, 1996, p. 58; June 22, 1998, review of Ghost Town, p. 81; May 27, 2002, "The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell)," p. 53.

Quill and Quire, May 1986, p. 29.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, fall, 1986, p. 143; fall, 1991, p. 267; fall, 1994, p. 9; summer, 1997, p. 272; fall, 1996, pp. 183-184; spring, 1999, Robert L. McLaughlin, review of Ghost Town, p. 174; summer 2003, Robert L. McLaughlin, review of The Adventures of Lucky Pierre, p. 137.

Saturday Review, August 31, 1968.

Short Story, fall, 1993, p. 89.

Southern Review, winter, 1971.

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Studies in the Novel, fall, 1993, p. 332.

Time, June 28, 1968; August 8, 1977.

Times (London, England), February 5, 1987; May 2, 1991.

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Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), January 18, 1987, p. 3; August 16, 1987, p. 3; January 6, 1991, p. 1; January 27, 1991, p. 1; February 9, 1997, p. 5.

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Metroactive Books Web site, (July 17, 2002), Allen Barra, "Robert Coover's 'Ghost Town' Rides the Frontier of Our Cowboy Memories.", (July 17, 2002), Allen Barra, review of Ghost Town.