A couple of questions... (1 Viewer)

Apologies if this has come up before, I did do a search but couldn't find anything of relevance.

Firstly I'm looking for some negative criticism on Bukowski, press reviews would be good but I'm also concerned with serious critical responses. I basically need some ammunition to argue against and I find most criticism of Bukowski concerns itself with his 'outsider' status, yet apart from obvious cases of pure neglect, I can find little in the way of negative response...

Secondly, I read a text called Defining Dirty Realism in Charles Bukowski's Factotum. Has anyone read the work? To what extent did you agree/disagree with it?


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There's certainly negative criticism on B., even in the early days, but it's not easy to find as it's scattered in very obscure mags. The best example of an elaborate negative review would be the one titled "The Soi Disant Plaintiffs", or something like that. Pure venom! Even his friend Neeli Cherry put B down now and then in print.

However, I don't recall a book devoted to criticizing Bukowski. THere are many condemning reviews of his work, but they are basically short pieces published in mags and journals.

This forum is also a good source of criticism, especially when it comes to myths :D

re. the piece from MFS, I haven't had a chance to read it, but will try to do soon.
Thanks, I'm just trying to find some work that I might be able to quote to emphasise some of my points. For example, Raymond Carver has been called post-literate literature, which would be a useful starting point to construct an argument regarding the merits of his style.

I remember something in a collection of poetry that contained the backhanded compliment "some of his titles are fun", maybe I'll track that down.

On the subject of that Dirty Realism essay, do you know of any other essays I could get hold of online? I've seen topics ask this before but I thought maybe there might be some new ones, and I have access to academic databases as I assume you do too... Sorry to be a pain and keep pestering!


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Alas, I do not have access to academic databases, but I learnt different ways to finding those academic pieces anyway. There are quite a few interesting pieces on Gale. Give it a try.

And you might want to read Sounes biography as well.


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There is a fat annual called Contemporary Literary Criticism that had quite an extensive section on Bukowski in 1994 (Volume 82). A big library should have that in their reference section. I have one here, but there's too much in there (30 pages) to copy or OCR scan.
Literary criticism of Bukowski...

I have just read 'Against the American Dream' by Russel Harrison. I found it really interesting. I didn't agree with his analysis re: a Marxist interpretation on Bukowski alienation and the work-place. I believe that was simply an extension of his general alienation from society in general, and a difficult one to square given Buk's non-political standing.

There's lots of very interesting stuff in there, particularly Buk's portrayal of Women. Also his style and form.

I read somewhere on the net of a bloke called 'Douglas' (Last name) Who had a negative take on Buk....

The Critcism mentioned of Carver seem to be based on Academic Snobbery, the very sort Bukowski suffered in his career and discussed successfully in Harrison's book.

As mentiond, Sounes's bio' on Buk is sensational, I'm reading it again and finding it even better the second time.....
One more question: Does anyone know where I could find the article about Bukowski's imagist roots online? I've had a look but have found nothing. Thanks


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I don't think it's available online. Have you taken a look at Gale? I have a copy somehere here, but no time to scan it.

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