Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the s and s whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imagination of young people everywhere. An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up in one word: mayonnaise. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
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Published in , this was Brautigan's second published novel. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more. Brautigan wrote, on 19 December , Robert Park Mills, then his literary agent, with details about figures for both first and second printings of Trout Fishing in America.
LEARN more. The phrase "Writing 14" on the opening page indicates placement in the publisher's writing series edited by Donald Merriam Allen. Front cover photograph of Brautigan and Michaela Blake-Grand.
No illustration or photograph on back cover. Brautigan provides details about this photograph in the first chapter. Brautigan called her his muse. Later, the site served as a cemetery. It is the largest open space in North Beach. The photograph originally considered for the front cover was also taken by Weber, in April It was a head and shoulders portrait of Brautigan alone in front of the same Franklin statue.
The statue and trees seem to loom over Brautigan. But Weber thought a better photograph could be produced. I felt we could do better. She sat down on stool next to RB. I said, "Richard let's take the stool, you, and the muse and set you up the same way you are now in front of Ben [the Benjamin Franklin statue].
Email to John F. Barber, 26 July As depicted in the front cover photograph, dressed in a surplus Navy jacket, black jeans, a vest adorned with many pins and buttons, and soft, high-crowned, uncreased tan cowboy hat, Brautigan was a familiar sight around Haight-Ashbury and North Beach. New York August , pp.
Grogan writes, "Rap rap on the door and I go to open it to Richard Brautigan who comes in under a soft tan hat, checks out the action, spots Cassandra in the kitchen, decides everything is cool, walks once again through the rooms, tall, slightly stooping like a gentle spider standing up We are all spiders, or ants, or something, I remember wondering, watching Richard putting his hands in his pockets and taking them out decides to split.
The clothing might have resulted from personal style and fear of change. Michael McClure said, "Richard always dressed the same. It was his style and he wanted to change it as little as possible. I was like that myself at the time. We were all trying to get the exact style of ourselves. Richard's style was shabby—loose threads at the cuff, black pants faded to gray, an old mismatched vest, a navy pea-jacket, and later something like love beads around the neck.
As he began to be successful he was even more fearful of change" Michael McClure The statue of Benjamin Franklin, the earliest existing monument in San Francisco, donated by dentist and prohibitionist Dr. Cogswell, was originally erected at the corner of Kearny and Market Streets in and moved to Washington Square Park in Cogswell installed water taps at the base of the statue in hopes that people would drink water from them rather than seeking out bootleg liquor.
Penguin, , pp. Merwin, Jack Kerouac, and Douglas Woolf. Edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Dedicated to e. These three chapters are the earliest known publication of any part of the novel Trout Fishing in America. In addition to this work by Brautigan, this issue also featured works by W.
Poetry by Daniel Moore and Harold Norse was included in the first paperback collections published by Grove Press in Of Brautigan, Barry Silesky said, "Also included was fiction writer Richard Brautigan, who had been writing and reading his poetry around North Beach since the fifties, even selling copies of his poems for small change on street corners.
Three sections of Brautigan's strange, inviting, deceptively simple Trout Fishing in America appeared; it was an important early exposure for him that helped open the way to a wider audience, and to publication of that novel in , as well as his previously written comic Confederate General in [sic] Big Sur in Both of them became best-sellers, and by the late sixties, Brautigan's following had grown from a tiny cult to a huge section of the swelling counterculture, rivaling that of Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti himself" Barry Silesky First published in , although written , Trout Fishing in America was Richard Brautigan's second published novel.
Trout Fishing in America was the novel that launched Brautigan's rise to literary fame, and is still considered by many critics as his defining literary work. Spicer, a gay San Francisco poet, was Brautigan's mentor and confidant, especially following Brautigan's wife's affair and elopement with Anthony Tony Frederic Aste. Spicer was attracted to Aste so the rejection was probably hard for him as well as Brautigan. Spicer and Brautigan talked about the manuscript for Trout Fishing in America and together they revised it, "as though it were a long serial poem" Ellingham and Killian Ron Loewinsohn speculated on the reasons for the double dedication.
Jack was absolutely fascinated with Trout Fishing, and spent a lot of time with Richard talking about it. He [was] so defensive, and so guarded; and Jack was able to get him to make changes. Whatever he did he deserved some sort of Henry Kissinger award" Ellingham and Killian We'd camp beside the streams, and Richard would get out his old portable typewriter and a card table. That's when he began to write Trout Fishing in America. He had to learn to write prose; everything he wrote turned into a poem" Kevin Ring The trip began in June , when Brautigan and Virgina vacated their Greenwich Street apartment, gave their black cat, Jake, to roommate Kenn Davis , and loaded the station wagon with camping gear, two orange crates of books, and a portable Royal typewriter loaned by Brautigan's barber, Ray Lopez.
They drove east from San Francisco, over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, through Reno, Nevada, where they were married, and into the Nevada desert where they spent their first night camping.
The next day the couple turned north at Wells, Nevada, headed for Idaho on U. Highway During the next week, Brautigan fished several of the surrounding creeks and recorded their romantic sounding names in a notebook entry he titled "Name of places where I caught trout, in order of appearance, —Idaho, a travel song, a ghost song. Brautigan fished with a seven-foot, two-section RA Special bamboo fly rod and an Olympus reel. In the winter of , Brautigan traded the rod and reel to writer and editor J.
Both the rod and reel were sold in an eBay auction. This photograph illustrated the auction. At Salt Creek, Brautigan was disturbed by the signs warning of explosive cyanide capsules placed to kill coyotes. He wrote a mock government warning, which Virginia translated into Spanish. Both were included in the "Salt Creek Coyotes" chapter. Brautigan described the visit in "The Teddy Roosevelt Chingader" chapter.
He also described buying tennis shoes and idle conversation with strangers in McCall. Virgina took photographs of Brautigan fishing and posing next to an abandoned, rusted motor vehicle. Brautigan and Virginia visited Stanley, Idaho, several times, attending a Saturday night "Stanley Stomp" dance at one of the bars. Brautigan met a surgeon staying at a nearby campsite with his family. Brautigan and the surgeon fished together, during which time the surgeon complained of his life and medical practice.
Brautigan used the experience as the basis for "The Surgeon" chapter. During the afternoons, when the fish were not taking his dry flies or bait, Brautigan read or wrote. Many of his daily camping and fishing experiences made their way into the chapter drafts for his evolving novel. At the end of July, Brautigan and Virginia moved north to Lake Josephus where they again set up an extended camp. The experiences inspired two chapters, "Lake Josephus Days" and "The Towel," about dealing with a sick baby.
Lingering into August, the Brautigans enjoyed their final campsite along Carrie Creek. With snow possible, and cash low, Brautigan and Virginia decided to return to San Francisco where Brautigan worked on his evolving novel. Preliminary work on the novel actually began the previous year when Brautigan, determined to write prose instead of poetry, experimented with short stories hoping they would lead to a novel.
He abandoned the manuscript for The Tower of Babel , a mystery novel, after struggling to write pages. On 16 September , Brautigan began writing an experimental story he called "Trout Fishing in America" in which he imagined trout made from steel and introduced a character called Trout Fishing in America.
The results, later incorporated in the first chapter of his most famous novel, were the beginning of a new for Brautigan literary form, the prose poem. As Brautigan sought chapter content for his evolving manuscript he turned first to previously written material. A short story written in fall , about two unemployed artists from New Orleans Brautigan met in Washington Square Park and how they imagined spending a pleasant, and warm, winter in a mental institution became the "A Walden Pond for Winos" chapter.
Oddly, this is one of the few chapters in the novel that does not mention trout fishing. Brautigan developed this penchant for using found materials as the basis for additional chapters, and continued to use the technique throughout his writing career. For example, inspiration came from Brautigan's reading and research at the Mechanics' Institute Library. Located at 57 Post Street, the location of the original building, built in and destroyed by the San Francisco earthquake and fire, the library maintained a collection of nearly , books in Brautigan included a list of twenty-two classic books about fishing in found in the Mechanics' Library in the "Trout Death by Port Wine" chapter.
Four recipes he found in cookbooks at the library were included in the "Another Method of Making Walnut Catsup" chapter. The signature at the end of the chapter is in Brautigan's handwriting.
Brautigan also incorporated people he knew into his evolving novel. Brautigan connected this individual to Nelson Algren's fictional character, Railroad Shorty, and proposed shipping him to Algren in Chicago, Illinois, where he might become a museum exhibit.
Pierre Delattre credits Shorty with inspiring Brautigan past the frustration of not being able to capture the magic of "his trout fishing book" on paper.
Delattre recalls a fishing trip with Brautigan and how he lamented his writer's block. Suddenly he seized the pen from my pocket, the notebook from my shoulder bag, ran out and over to a park bench, and started to scribble a story about a man who finds a used trout stream in the back of a hardware store.
Trout Fishing in America
Published in , this was Brautigan's second published novel. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more. Brautigan wrote, on 19 December , Robert Park Mills, then his literary agent, with details about figures for both first and second printings of Trout Fishing in America. LEARN more. The phrase "Writing 14" on the opening page indicates placement in the publisher's writing series edited by Donald Merriam Allen.
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Trout Fishing in America is a novella written by Richard Brautigan and published in It is technically Brautigan's first novel; he wrote it in before A Confederate General from Big Sur , which was published first. Trout Fishing In America is an abstract book without a clear central storyline. Instead, the book contains a series of anecdotes broken into chapters, with the same characters often reappearing from story to story.