A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and by Richard Brautigan

By Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan was once the writer of ten novels, together with a modern vintage, Trout Fishing in the USA, 9 volumes of poetry, and a suite of stories.Here are 3 Brautigan novels—A accomplice basic from substantial Sur, Dreaming of Babylon and The Hawkline Monster—reissued in a one-volume omnibus edition.

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6 However, what makes this image so fascinating is that its symbolic potency inevitably runs out of control and resists definitive motivation: the meaning of the image that Burroughs and Ginsberg so clearly staged together is in fact unstable and unclear, open to multiple and contrary readings. Burroughs might, for example, have been drawn by a more general historical and mythic reference: the inescapably fateful aura of the curse, invoked by the figure of the Egyptologist, and, of course, by the story of Oedipus.

In fact, as Daniel McNeill notes, while there are “over one hundred theories of laughter” and other basic expressions, there are “few grand unified theories of smiling” (209). The most relevant psychological enquiry remains Freud’s essay on Leonardo da Vinci, where he analyzes the most famous and enigmatic smile of all time, that of the Mona Lisa. Freud addresses the meaning of the smile explicitly in terms of fascination, which he reads as a defense against loss, specifically of the mother: Leonardo is fascinated by the Florentine lady because she bears the maternal smile that he has lost.

The point is not the eclipse of meaning, the way these critics risk losing the thematic or referential content of what the voice says, but rather the loss of the content in the form, in the grain of the voice itself. 30 The Secret of Fascination Instead of resisting seduction and practicing scrutiny, they pass their knowledge on, like a chain letter or a game of round-robin, and so confirm that when criticism deals with the fascination of Burroughs, the only alternative to negation is repetition.

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