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Charles Bukowski

Poet, short-story writer, and novelist Charles Bukowski (1920–94) was once called by Time a “laureate of American lowlife.” In this new interpretation of his life and work, David Stephen Calonne examines the creation and originality of Bukowski’s writings through the lens of his colorful life, the literary traditions that influenced him, and his unique place in world literature.
Calonne describes how Bukowski, who was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States at the age of three, was influenced by German literary and intellectual traditions. He shows how the writer’s traumatic childhood—his abusive father, social withdrawal, and early introduction to alcohol—influenced the themes and content of his work. Calonne also explores several unknown pieces of fiction and poetry from the early years of Bukowski’s career, as well as his major works—including Post Office and the poetry volumes published by Black Sparrow Press—and biographical films such as Barfly. Comprehensive but concise, Charles Bukowski will find a wide audience in fans of this prolific, influential figure and provide a valuable introduction to his new admirers.

224 pages | 30 halftones | 5 x 7 7/8 | © 2012

Critical Lives

Biography and Letters

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature

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“David Stephen Calonne is a Bukowski scholar and this highly readable account informs and entertains without ever condescending . . . this is a very readable summary of his career and Calonne does not shy away from discussing Bukowski’s ‘self-mythologising.’”

Daily Telegraph

 “Charles Bukowski by David Calonne is not just the best book on Charles Bukowski’s writing, it is the ONLY one.”

John Martin, founder of The Black Sparrow Press

Table of Contents

1. Deutschland, Vaterland, The Name of the Father: 1920–1943
2. Solitude and Music in Small Rooms: First Stories and Poems, 1944–1959
3. Christ and Dionysus: Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail to Crucifix in a Deathhand, 1960–1965
4. Age of Aquarius Dawning: A Dirty Old Man among the Beasts and Hippies, 1966–1969
5. A Professional Writer and the Dogs from Hell, 1970–1978
6. Turning Sixty in San Pedro: 1979–1986
7. Journey to the End of the Night: Late Style, 1987–1994

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Photo Acknowledgements

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