We need our literary outlaws, if only for the vicarious glimpses they give us of life-on-the-edge experiences — just as they need...
We need our literary outlaws, if only for the vicarious glimpses they give us of life-on-the-edge experiences — just as they need our humdrum selves in order to have something to rebel against.
Now, for readers who have somehow missed the past half-century of literary walks on the wild side, editors Alan Kaufman, Neil Ortenberg and Barney Rosset have compiled a 662-page “Outlaw Bible of American Literature” (Thunder’s Mouth, $24.95). Its purpose: to document a revolt against “a literary dictatorship of tepid taste, politic correctness, and sheer numbing banality.”
All the usual suspects — William S. Burroughs, John Rechy, Henry Miller — are here, along with several unexpected figures: Sandra Cisneros, Eric Burdon, Grace Paley and John Sayles. Pacific Northwest representatives include Katherine Dunn, Ken Kesey and Chuck Palahniuk.
Most Read Stories
- I didn’t get it right with Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, and I apologize
- Family of girl snatched by sea lion lambasted for ‘reckless behavior’ WATCH
- Seahawk legend Cortez Kennedy dead at 48
- What drivers can and cannot do under Washington state's new distracted-driving law
- Blast at Ariana Grande concert in England kills 19 people VIEW
And as if in anticipatory homage, the late Hunter S. Thompson is given the last word in the book, with a choice cut from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in which he explains why the gambling mecca is “not a good town for psychedelic drugs.” It comes complete with a Ralph Steadman cartoon-portrait of Thompson in his “Vintage Dr. Gonzo” phase.
Seattle Times book critic