Black Lawrence Press
October 28, 2008

Just Out — A “Critifictional” Look at Bukowski & Carver

You can order it here.

It will be on Amazon, bn.com, etc. in a week or two…

The Dirty Realism Duo: Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver on the Aesthetics of the Ugly

Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver were credited as the fathers of the “Dirty Realism” genre in the 1980s—branching out from minimalism, the stripping of fiction down to the least amount of words and a concentration on the subject’s view of the object. The characters are usually run-of-the-mill, every day people—the lower and middle class worker, the unemployed, the alcoholic, the beaten-down-by-life. In this experimental monograph (in the vein of D. H. Lawrence’s Studies in Contemporary American Fiction), avantpop literary critic Michael Hemmingson examines these dirty works of Bukowski and Carver through the lens of late twentieth-century American culture and the sociological observation of the self, questioning the authority of the “I” in fiction and poetry and its relation to the eye’s gaze of the words on a page.

Hemmingson offers close readings of selected texts, deconstructing iconic works by Bukowski and Carver to point out the elements of dirty realism and mastery of the language of the common folk, proving that these two writers are an institution in American literature.