Richard Brautigan life and biography

Richard Brautigan picture, image, poster

Richard Brautigan biography

Date of birth : 1935-01-30
Date of death : 1984-10-14
Birthplace : Tacoma, Washington, USA
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-06-11
Credited as : Author, So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away,

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Richard Brautigan aka Richard Gary Brautigan was a 20th century American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America.

In San Francisco Brautigan sought to establish himself as a writer. He was known for handing out his poetry on the streets and performing at poetry clubs. Brautigan's first published book was The Return of the Rivers (1958), a single poem, followed by two collections of poetry: The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958) and Lay the Marble Tea (1959). During the 1960s Brautigan became involved in the burgeoning San Francisco counterculture scene, often appearing as a performance-poet at concerts and participating in the various activities of The Diggers. Brautigan was also a writer for Change, an underground newspaper created by Ron Loewinsohn.

In the summer of 1961 Brautigan went camping with his wife and his daughter in southern Idaho. While camping he completed the novels A Confederate General From Big Sur and Trout Fishing in America. A Confederate General from Big Sur was his first published novel and met with little critical or commercial success. But when Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame. Literary critics labeled him the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth-movement of the late 1960s, even though he was said to be contemptuous of hippies. Trout Fishing in America has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

During the 1960s Brautigan published four collections of poetry as well as another novel, In Watermelon Sugar (1968). In the spring of 1967 he was Poet-in-Residence at the California Institute of Technology. During this year, he published All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, a chapbook published by The Communication Company. It was printed in an edition of 1,500 copies and distributed for free. From late 1968 to February 1969, Brautigan recorded a spoken-word album for The Beatles' short-lived record-label, Zapple. The label was shut down by Allen Klein before the recording could be released, but it was eventually released in 1970 on Harvest Records as Listening to Richard Brautigan.

In the 1970s Brautigan experimented with different literary genres. He published five novels (the first of which, The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, had been written in the mid-1960s) and a collection of short stories, Revenge of the Lawn (1971). "When the 1960s ended, he was the baby thrown out with the bath water," said his friend and fellow writer, Thomas McGuane. "He was a gentle, troubled, deeply odd guy." Generally dismissed by literary critics and increasingly abandoned by his readers, Brautigan's popularity waned throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. His work remained popular in Europe, however, as well as in Japan, where Brautigan visited several times. To his critics, Brautigan was willfully naive. Lawrence Ferlinghetti said of him, "As an editor I was always waiting for Richard to grow up as a writer. It seems to me he was essentially a naïf, and I don't think he cultivated that childishness, I think it came naturally. It was like he was much more in tune with the trout in America than with people."

Brautigan's writings are characterized by a remarkable and humorous imagination. The permeation of inventive metaphors lent even his prose-works the feeling of poetry. Evident also are themes of Zen Buddhism like the duality of the past and the future and the impermanence of the present. Zen Buddhism and elements of the Japanese culture can be found in his novel Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel. Brautigan's last published work before his death was his novel So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away which was published in 1982, two years before his death.

Novels and novellas:
A Confederate General From Big Sur (1964)
Trout Fishing in America (1967)
In Watermelon Sugar (1968)
The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971)
The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western (1974)
Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery (1975)
Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976)
Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977)
The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980)
So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away (1982)
An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey (1982)

Poetry:
The Return of the Rivers (1958)
The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958)
Lay the Marble Tea (1959)
The Octopus Frontier (1960)
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (1963)
Please Plant This Book (1968)
The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster (1969)
Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt (1970)
Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork
June 30, June 30
The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings

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