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“Liberature”: Some Thoughts About Julián Ríos

So, today, at the library, I was roaming around the stacks, and I noticed House of Ulysses, by Julián Ríos. Ever since swimming through some pages of Larva: A Midsummer Night’s Babel, I’ve wanted to read Ríos’s work, and by read I mean, read everything that’s out there by him. But, since I’ve decided read all of Henry James’s fiction (I just finished reading his first novel, Watch and Ward, today) not to mention my many other reading plans, I ended up, regretfully, not taking House of Ulysses home. I did, however, find this great, short interview with him, conducted by Mark Thwaite, at Dalkey Archive, which captures Ríos’s ebullient humor, his wordplay:

MT: There is a real jouissance to your work. Is the pleasure of the text partially an expression of the freedom you as a Spaniard felt in the early ’80s?

JR: Do as you like, a minimal maxim, an old favorite of mine, so exalting and at the same time so difficult as a Rabelesian rule. I hold the liberation theory that the best writers liberate the language from taboos, tattoos, cockatoos, repetitions, old fashion repressions and expressions, clichés, fetters, and so forth. For this reason I call it sometimes liberature for short, this liberating literature


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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