The Outlaw Bible of American Literature share button
Alan Kaufmann
Format Paperback
Dimensions 6.12 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.61 (d)
Pages 920
Publisher Basic Books
Publication Date December 2004
ISBN 9781560255505
Book ISBN 10 1560255501
About Book

The Outlaw Bible of American Literature will serve as a primer for generational revolt and an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the writers, on-the-scene testimony, seminal underground articles never before collected, photographs, cartoons, drawings, interviews, and, above all, the writings. Beat, Punk, Noir, Prison, Porn, Cyber, Queer, Anarchist, Blue Collar, Pulp, Sci-Fi, Utopian, Mobster, Political—all are represented. The Bible includes fiction, essays, letters, memoirs, journalism, lyrics, diaries, manifestoes, and selections from seminal film scripts, including Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, and Taxi Driver. The editors have brought together an extravagant, eclectic, searing, and unforgettable body of work, showcasing Hustlers, Mavericks, Contrarians, Rockers, Barbarians, Gangsters, Hedonists, Provocateurs, Hipsters, and Revolutionaries—all in one raucous cauldron of rebellion and otherness. This prose companion to the best-selling award-winning Outlaw Bible of American Poetry features selections from Hunter S. Thompson, Exene Cervenka, Patti Smith, Dennis Cooper, Malcolm X, Sonny Barger, Maggie Estep, Lenny Bruce, Henry Miller, R. Crumb, Philip K. Dick, Iceberg Slim, Gil Scott-Heron, Kathy Acker, Jim Carroll, Charles Mingus, Norman Mailer, and many others.


Kirkus Reviews

Is an outlaw writer one who threatens to fill Marshall McLuhan with pencil lead? The editors of this overstuffed anthology never quite get around to defining just what "outlaw literature" is and what makes it illicit, dangerous, or otherwise suspect, except to hint that it stands in some sort of opposition to the world of "reality shows, Botox, or IPOs," to say nothing of a "culture coming of age in the grip of Google and Wal-mart." Resounding sentiments, those, and the editors, famed counterculturists in their own right, presumably know outlaw literature when they see it. Still, you might wonder: What do Richard Brautigan and Mickey Spillane, who took home hefty advances and even heftier royalty checks, really have in common with, say, Boxcar Bertha and Sonny Barger? Would Emma Goldman have much to say to Valerie Solanas, Ray Bradbury to DMX? Only a deconstructionist, perhaps, could say with any authority. For our purposes, being an outlaw writer appears mostly to mean using lots of naughty words (Barry Gifford: "Willie Wild Wong, you dumb motherfucker!"; Jim Carroll: "'I am the proletariat, you dumb bastard,' he said, 'and I think those motherfuckers are off their rockers") and doing lots of naughty and unhealthful things (Norman Mailer: "I threw up a little while ago and my breath is foul"; William Burroughs: "Junk sickness, suspended by codeine and hop, numbed by weeks of constant drinking, came back on me full force"). Still, there are lots of good and memorable things here, among them Paul Krassner's memoir of dropping acid with Groucho Marx; Dee Dee Ramone's heartfelt plea, "Please don't kill me now, God. I would love to be the last Ramone to die" (no such luck, sorry); and MalcolmX's spot-on prediction that after his death "the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with 'hate.'" A freeform category, then, marked by a rather shapeless but still quite readable, collection. Good stuff, if you like that sort of thing.