Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Avant-garde writing tends to be an "iffy" thing these days, more a matter of cocktail chatter than execution. The resources for experiments seem used up, or ash John Barth put it, "exhausted" (Pinkser 75). Things and words increase in quantity but diminish in value and meaning, making the contemporary writer more and more unwilling to follow the old ways of arranging them. Though this is not a new predicament for an aspiring writer, it is one that seems threatening in an age of self-conscious art. Writers must look for new grammars and new semantics. Some writers turn this quest for new patternings into an aesthetic principle. Such was the case with Richard Brautigan. Brautigan was an innovative writer who pursued his style of writing in this manner: "What if I?... (a) break out of linear print altogether (b) replace order with chapters that can be reshuffled to suit each reader (c) write the damn thing on a roll of toilet paper" (75). This rather care-free attitude seems appropriate for a man who was viewed by many as the representative of the hippie social revolution. Brautigan appeared on the literary scene in the mid-1960s, and with his long blond hair and Hashbury-type clothes, he certainly looked the part. His eccentric works of the American imagination were seen by some as the literary equivalents of such countercultural symbols as acid rock, love beads and long hair.
Howell, Elizabeth A., "Richard Brautigan : a man in search of America" (1986). Honors Theses. 526.