Brautigan, Richard (brôˈtəgăn)
, 1935–84, American novelist and poet, b. Tacoma, Wash. He was a counterculture hero of the 1960s and 70s, and his work is an indictment of America's cultural environment. Influenced by writers of the beat generation
, he exhibits a hippie sensibility and countercultural voice in his extremely original and loosely constructed fiction, his gently passive protagonists, his droll sense of comedy, and the touch of the surreal that often marks his work. His first novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur
(1964), was followed by the plotless Trout Fishing in America
(written 1961, pub. 1967, pub. nationally 1969), which became a national best seller. Other novels include In Watermelon Sugar
(1968), Dreaming of Babylon
(1977), and The Tokyo-Montana Express
(1980). Brautigan also wrote short stories, many collected in Revenge of the Lawn
(1971). Among his volumes of poetry are The Pill Versus the Springfield Mine Disaster
(1968) and Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork
(1976). Brautigan committed suicide in 1984. A book of poems and stories (1999) and a novel-journal (2000) were published posthumously.
See K. Abbott, Downstream from Trout Fishing in America (1989) and I. Brautigan, You Can't Catch Death (2000); biography by W. Hjortsberg (2012); studies by M. Chénetier (1983), E. H. Foster (1983), C. Grossman (1986), and J. Boyer (1987); annotated bibliography by J. F. Barber (1990).