2001 0-7734-7479-X This study clarifies and interprets the literary function and value of certain artistic choices made by this major American writer who in four novels and more than 100 short stories constructed a fictive realm. The canon of Barthelme’s work is an invaluable repository of the literary, philosophical, political, and cultural ecology of his time. He is viewed in his own context – upscale New York City, the art circuit and the New Yorker, where he made his reputation and had a relatively loyal readership. Architecture, the cinema, and music all gave him what painters call ‘scrap’ but it was painting that allured him, showed him what the writer could do, and painting that he tried to emulate in voicing the heretofore unvoiced. This study, examining and evaluating an elaborate cross-section of Barthelme’s work, will show that what mattered was method.