Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan

About Richard Brautigan

Richard Gary Brautigan (January 30, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington – September 1984 in Bolinas, California) was an American poet and writer. Brautigan is considered one of the main representatives of the American west coast underground of the 1960s and 1970s. Coming from a disadvantaged social background on the West Coast, Brautigan finds his raison d'être in writing and joins the literary movement of San Francisco in 1956. There he frequents the artists of the Beat Generation and participates in numerous events of the counterculture. He lived a troubled childhood, due to the early divorce of his parents and the mistreatment suffered by his mother's subsequent companions. Adolescence was equally difficult and the young Brautigan was arrested in 1955 for resisting the police. Approaching the Hippy movement, he lived the libertarian spirit of those years intensely, dedicating himself to writing short stories and poems. He published his first poetry book The Return of the Rivers in 1957, followed by two collections of poetry: The Galilee Hitch-Hiker (1958) and Lay the Marble Tea (1959).
In 1967, during the Summer of Love, he was revealed to the world by his best-selling book Trout Fishing in America and was nicknamed the Last of the Beats. He gained fame for this publication which was a postmodern novel written in prosimeter. This novel equally poetic and culturally pessimistic tone is often seen as a swan song to the American dream. The success achieved allowed the rediscovery of previous writings, such as In Watermelon Sugar (1968), The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 (1971) and A Confederate General From Big Sur (1975). His following writings will have less success and from the 1970s, he gradually falls into anonymity. Over the years, and with the change in US society, Brautigan withdrew more and more into himself, often being hit by attacks of paranoia and suffering from the alcoholic syndrome, which would lead him to dependence, addiction, and premature death which occurred at the age of 49 in 1984 by suicide.

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