Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Charles Bukowski - Author Series IV

Charles Bukowski.   He's one of those authors whose name invokes thoughts of "I think I know who he is," or "I should know who he is," or "I've heard of him before and probably read something of his."  According to, "Henry Charles Bukowski was a drunken loafer and prolific writer known best for writing the autobiographical screenplay for 'Barfly'"  and who wrote about "characteristic themes of desolation among society's misfits and outcasts and the absurdity of life". It appears he's best known for drinking, and writing about drinking and drinkers.

Many authors (and artists and personalities and performers) who fall into the category of "underground celebrity", so attractive to college students and 20-somethings and hipsters (myself included at one of these phases or another), feel more tawdry than cool when looked back on at a later date.  Bukowski is of the William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) or Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) school of writers, focused on bringing to life the underbelly  of and degenerates in the world,  with the intent of commenting on modern society and justifying their own alcohol and/or drug abuse.  Not that they didn't do a brilliant job with all of this, and have an impact on contemporary literature and journalism and film, in one way or another.  However, at this point in my life, I'm not so sure I would get as much enjoyment out of them now as I once did. 

Confession:  I was always a bit partial to Dr. Benway.

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