Dictionary of Twentienth-Century Culture
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Dictionary of Twentienth-Century Culture: Richard Brautigan

by Sam Bruce?

Poet and novelist Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) is often called a literary link between the Beat Generation writers who lived in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco in the late 1950s and the hippies of the Haight-Ashbury area of the city in the 1960s.

Though he published several volumes of poetry, the best known of which is The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster(1968), Brautigan's chief success came with his fiction, particularly his first three novels: A Confederate General From Big Sur (1964), Trout Fishing in America (1967), and In Watermelon Sugar (1968). Written in a whimsical style, these books exhibit a love of nature and nostalgic longing for a simple, pastoral life. As his characters search for a mythic American Eden, they find themselves repeatedly thwarted by the technology and pollution produced by modern American society. Brautigan became a hero to many college-age readers in the 1960s for his indictment of post-World War II American values as well as his love of nature.

He continued to write throughout the 1970s, enjoying a steady popularity among readers while the critical establishment tended to dismiss his work as facile and trendy. He was found dead, an apparent suicide, in September 1984, just as critics began to recognize his role in the development of American metafiction and postmodernism.

Dictionary of Twentienth-Century Culture?
Detroit: Gale Reasearch, 1994

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