Brautigan > Collected Works

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's collected works. Brautigan published one collection during his lifetime. Three others were published after his death. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.


Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings

Publication

First USA Edition
1995
Boston/New York: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin, 1995.
ISBN 0-395-97469-0; First printing 1 July 1995
122 pages
Paperback, with printed wrappers. No hardback issue, other than Limited Edition
Front cover photograph by Erik Weber of Brautigan
Introduction by Keith Abbott
A note by Burton Weiss details how he acquired these previously unknown and unpublished Brautigan materials from Edna Webster in October 1992.

Limited Edition
Berkeley and Forest Knolls, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1999.
75 press-numbered copies
Hard cover binding of the regular trade edition with an added colophon page, issued without a dustjacket.
Introduction by Keith Abbott who signed all 75 copies on the colophon page and stamped each in red ink with a Chinese seal he designed.

Regular Issue Limited Edition
65 copies numbered 1-65
Quarter-bound by John DeMerritt in cloth and marbled paper boards

Deluxe Issue Limited Edition
10 copies numbered I-X
Bound by John DeMerritt in full burgundy Nigerian goatskin
Title stamped in copper and ivory
Separate broadside included featuring two poems from the book
Broadside printed by David Deiss in an edition of only 10 copies

Proof Copy
Advance Reader Copy (ARC) / Uncorrected Page Proof
Boston: Mariner Original, 1999
Notes publication date as September 16, 1999, size as 5.5" x 8.25", and national advertising in Village Voice, Boston Phoenix, Seattle Weekly, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Willamette Week, Washington City Paper, and LA Weekly.

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Background

The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings consists of poems, stories, and several "novels," as Brautigan called them. All are works of juvenilia. They were given by Brautigan to Edna Webster, who placed them in a safe deposit box where they remained for many years. They were "discovered" after Brautigan's death and published.

Gifted to Webster
Between 3 November 1955 and June 1956, when he left Eugene, Oregon, bound for San Francisco, California, Brautigan gave several manuscripts of his writings to Edna Webster. This gifting began 3 November 1955, when, perhaps fearing his parent's efforts to force him into psychiatric care, and seeking safe keeping for his writing, Brautigan wrote and signed a short note granting Webster exclusive ownership of his writings.

"On this third day of November, 1955, I, Richard Brautigan, give all of my writings to Edna Webster. They are now her property, and she may do what she wishes with them. If she has them published, all of the money derived from publication is hers."
           Richard Brautigan

Brautigan wrote other manuscripts following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956, and perhaps gave them to Webster for safe keeping when he left for San Francisco, California, in June.

Some manuscripts in the original collection were rejected by various publishers and returned to Webster according to the return envelope provided by Brautigan.

Connections
Edna Webster was Brautigan's confidant and surrogate mother. Her son, Peter, was Brautigan's best friend. Her daughter, Linda, was Brautigan's first girlfriend. Several of the writings in this collection were dedicated to Linda and/or Edna.

Webster sold the materials in October 1992 to James Musser and Burton Weiss, both rare book dealers. Much of this material comprised The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

Following publication of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings, many of the original manuscripts and other materials went to The Bancroft Library, at The University of California-Berkeley, where they became part of The Richard Brautigan Collection. Other pieces remained the property of Musser and Weiss.

Deanna (Webster) Hershiser, daughter of Peter Webster, published a short essay entitled A Discovered Legacy, in which she recounts her grandmother, Edna Webster, showing her Brautigan's writings, and her father telling stories about Brautigan (Camroc Press Review 20 September 2009).

Notebooks of Brautigan's Writing
The original collection included handwritten notebooks filled with previously unpublished stories, poems, short novels, photographs, and personal items. Some of these works were written prior to 3 November 1955, but most were written between Brautigan's release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956 and June 1956 when he left Eugene, Oregon, bound for San Francisco, California. Information about each follows.

i love you

Nothing from this manuscript was included in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Dedicated "for Linda," this manuscript was begun on 22 November 1955 and finished five days later, on 27 November. The manuscript consisted of seventy-six poems, each on a separate page. Each poem were bracketed by the question, "What is love?" at the beginning and the statement "love never ends" at its conclusion. It was a fair copy of how Brautigan visualized the published layout.

These are the poem titles.

  • a cookie
  • i saw You for the first time
  • my love is a glass of milk
  • new
  • i would walk back across hell to get Your hat
  • spring
  • flowers
  • the things about You
  • Your voice
  • our
  • love is an enchanted thing
  • my soul
  • to be there
  • happy
  • above the sky
  • please let this be the poem of Your soul
  • sunrises
  • forever
  • in the morning
  • fire
  • the things You want to hear
  • question
  • i will pick a star for You
  • perhaps
  • the four most beautiful women in the whole world
  • i need You like a rose needs the sun
  • all the time
  • the soft warm of You up against me
  • puppy
  • for Linda
  • eyes
  • beside a river
  • tickle
  • a letter
  • beyond even spring shower
  • the poetry of Your hands
  • bath
  • pain
  • white clothes
  • or i will never have anything
  • rainbow
  • her
  • God's home
  • skin
  • a coke
  • it will always be dawn
  • eastern oregon
  • a piece of grass
  • and kiss You
  • cry
  • a blue flower to put in Your brown hair
  • a star
  • God's love
  • the dishes
  • a billion poems
  • nothing but purity
  • forgive me
  • beautiful Linda
  • i pray for You
  • worlds
  • happy
  • You went back into the house
  • Your hand
  • christmas tree
  • in the dawn
  • the forest of Your heart
  • below the dam
  • a flower
  • kitten
  • i want to put You back together again
  • the highest mountain
  • a kiss
  • a wonderful dream
  • i will jump a million miles into the sky
  • why do i love You?

At the manuscript's conclusion, Brautigan included the following statement regarding the nature and future of the book.
this is Linda Webster's book
it is a symbol of my love for her.

i will not give this book to Linda
until i know that She loves me.

it the world is going to get this book,
Linda will have to give it to the world.

will i give this book to Linda?
will the world get this book?

only God knows.

richard brautigan
november 27th, 1955
eugene, oregon

There's Always Somebody Who Is Enchanted

This manuscript included nine stories. All were published in the There's Always Somebody Who Is Enchanted section of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Select the "Contents" tab above and learn more.

A Love Letter From State Insane Asylum

This manuscript was published in the A Love Letter from State Insane Asylum section of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Select the "Contents" tab above and learn more.

Rock around the Clock

This manuscript was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956. Dedicated "for Edna" [Webster], this manuscript included eight short stories/novels/chapters of one novel. Those marked with asterisks, below, were collected and published in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

story with a happy ending
Recounts the death by heart attack of Mrs. Jones on "the ninth day of November." When her husband, Mr. Jones, found her body, he died of a heart attack as well. The couple had been married fifty-two years. They were buried together.

An untitled observation*
[with sister Barbara?] of crawfish eating a sea lamprey. Titled "crawdads eating a sea lamprey" in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

mr. otto's sunday school class*
Recounts Mr. Otto, the undertaker, asking his Sunday school class whether they would like to be nailed to a cross, and his death, on 3 June 1938, after being hit by a train while driving his hearse.

a haunted child*
Describes a mother watching her daughter crying in her sleep. Sometimes the mother wakes the child, who then stops crying, does not know that she had been crying, and iss mad at her mother for waking her. This time the mother lets the child continue crying in her sleep.

rock around the clock*
Recounts meeting Linda Webster (called "Pat" in the manuscript) in a record store. Brautigan is in a glass-walled booth, listening to the recording Rock around the Clock when Linda comes in, selects two records (one is Love Is A Many Splendored Thing) and begins listening to them in the glass-walled booth just next to his. They stare at each other through the glass walls. Brautigan leaves his own booth and enters Linda's. "I like you," he says. This story/novel was also included in the manuscript, Why Unknown Poets Remain Unknown.

a visit from jake*
Recounts a visit by the ghost of Brautigan's brother Jake, dead six years. Brautigan and Jake talk and drink beer. Brautigan concludes that one does not appreciate others until they "have been dead for a few years."

one man's family*
Focuses on the lack of experience in Lester Rubenstien's life. This story/novel was included in another manuscript, Why Unknown Poets Remain Unknown which lends its title to Part 1 of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

a glass of beer*
Provides Brautigan's vision of his mother drinking beer. This story/novel was also included in the manuscript, Why Unknown Poets Remain Unknown which lends its title to Part 1 of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

Would You Like to Saddle Up a Couple of Goldfish and Swim to Alaska?

This manuscript was published by The Bancroft Library Press in 1995 and included in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Select the "Contents" tab above and learn more.

I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye

This manuscript was reprinted by Burton Weiss and James P. Musser in 1996 after its first publication in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Select the "Contents" tab above and learn more.

Seven Rooms Each as Big as God

This manuscript was a poetry collection.

Poems for Edna

This manuscript was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956. This manuscript was an 18-page collection of poems. In the scratched out, draft dedication, Brautigan wrote, in part, of trying "with all my might to make these poems pure. But I have failed, as I knew I would when I started to write them, because my soul cannot find its way through my stupid intellect. Edna, you are very intelligent and sensitive and good. I hope that god will be able to see the things that my soul was trying to say."

The contents included the following. Poems marked with asterisks, were collected and published in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

  • Always The Geese*
  • A Woman's Eyes*
  • Love Is*
  • Hi
  • Tom's Soul*
  • Cats*
  • Prayer of a Broken-hearted Lover
  • Somebody Comes to This Place*
  • Let's Walk Downtown Together
  • A Lonely Wet*
  • The First Day of My Life
    Scratched out, but clearly the start of the novel Revenge of the Lawn
  • The Haunted Heart*
  • A Greene Whore
  • In the Days of the Swans*
  • When My Soul Didn't Love Me*
  • A Butcher Knife*
  • Remembrance of an Enchanted Exploration
  • Voice from a Long Ago Dusk*
  • Hurry, Young Lovers*
  • Poem of a Highly-successful Underewear [sic] Manufacturer
  • The Gentle Hunter*
  • Something*
  • The Death of a Friend
  • Will My Soul Walk in the Rain?*
  • Anyone for Kleenex?*
  • Poem for Linda Webster When She Is Old Enough to Find Her Way Around in the Valley of Poetry*
    The word "enchanted" is scratched out just before the phrase "valley of poetry"
  • Days*
  • Purrings of My Soul
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Contents

The stories, poems, and short novels in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings are funny and buoyant and show Brautigan as hopelessly lovestruck, goofy, and innocent. Unless noted, these writings were first published in the order listed below.

Why Unknown Poets Stay Unknown, Part 1

Information about contents below.

My name is Richard Brautigan
For Edna
knife
the wait
x
song of a sex deviate
the south
good-bye
man
a woman's eyes
Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.
Includes the novels I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye, The Conscripted Storyteller, and a visit from jake; and three poems, "Nature Lover, or Something," "a woman's eyes," and "Phantom Kiss." The poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed on a 13" x 4" bumper sticker and included with each copy of the leather bound (6 copies) and lettered versions (26 copies) of I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye. Only 32 copies were printed, black ink on white stock. Each copy was numbered.
i dreamt i was a bird
o life!
poem for l.w.
television program
dear old mommie
i discovered death
ex-lovers meet
nightmare
a nickel
incongruity
lonny
a game called eternity
men
horsemeat for sale
portrait of man
nothing new
the eternal she
a young man
it's raining
if i should die before you do
lesson
fly caught in a spider's web
let's walk downtown together
breathe on me
against conformity and averageism
maggots eating my brain
gay: tra-la-la
god, have mercy on this young lover
all the cities at once
a memory of life will be frozen in my eyes

phantom kiss
Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.
Includes the novels I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye, The Conscripted Storyteller, and a visit from jake; and three poems, "Nature Lover, or Something," "a woman's eyes," and "Phantom Kiss." The poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed on a 13" x 4" bumper sticker and included with each copy of the leather bound (6 copies) and lettered versions (26 copies) of I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye. Only 32 copies were printed, black ink on white stock. Each copy was numbered.

to wooer
don't be afraid of death
white tiger and enchanted cave
the death of time

The Conscripted Storyteller
Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.
Includes the novels I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye, The Conscripted Storyteller, and a visit from jake; and three poems, "Nature Lover, or Something," "a woman's eyes," and "Phantom Kiss." The poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed on a 13" x 4" bumper sticker and included with each copy of the leather bound (6 copies) and lettered versions (26 copies) of I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye. Only 32 copies were printed, black ink on white stock. Each copy was numbered.


Would You Like to Saddle Up a Couple of Goldfish and Swim to Alaska?

The manuscript for this section was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956.

Dedication
for Edna

Edna Webster was Brautigan's surrogate mother. Her daughter, Linda Webster, was Brautigan's first girlfriend. Her son, Peter Webster, was Brautigan's best friend. Brautigan gave many of his high school writing manuscripts to Edna on 3 November 1955.

The novel is a love fantasy inspired by Brautigan's gift of two goldfish to Linda, called "Grace" in the manuscript. Grace is seventeen. Brautigan, the narrator, called simply "I," is nineteen, Brautigan's two-year fantasy age difference, rather than the six-year difference (Linda was fourteen; Brautigan twenty) that troubled him so. The novel is also prescient of the themes Brautigan explored in his later work: loneliness, isolation, alienation, and death.

In his introduction to The Bancroft Library version, Burton Weiss details how he acquired previously unknown and unpublished Brautigan materials, including this manuscript, from Edna Webster in October 1992. Burton says the original manuscript for this book was a 6" x 8" spiral-bound, lined notebook in which Brautigan wrote the entire final text by hand, including title, dedication, and chapter headings. The manuscript was a fair copy of how Brautigan visualized the published layout for this short novel. It consisted of 78 pages, 16 left blank.

Would You Like to Saddle Up a Couple of Goldfish and Swim to Alaska?
The Bancroft Library Version
Berkeley, CA: The Bancroft Library Press, 1995
Limited Edition; 50 numbered copies. Some unnumbered copies are reported and probably are part of a printing over run.
16 pages; Uncut
Printed wrappers slightly larger than the pages
Binding handsewn with numbering in pencil on the inside back cover
Front cover illustration by Philip Kuznicki

Handset and printed on the Berkeley Albion handpress by Zackary Todd Baker, Kevin James Carpenter, Alice Kim, Kristin Ann Low, Julie Malork, Alexis Masnik, Sean Quach, Cynthia Neuhaus Wardell, and Yau-Fen You under the direction of Peter Koch.

The Egg Hunter
James Dean in Eugene, Oregon

A Love Letter from State Insane Asylum

The manuscript for this section was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956. Information about contents below.

A
Dear Jane

"Jane" is Edna Webster. "Estella" is her daughter, Linda, with whom Brautigan was hopelessly in love.


I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye

The manuscript for this section of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956. In this novel, Brautigan recounts being taken to the Oregon State Hospital on 25 December 1955. Dedicated to Edna Webster, and consisting of fifty-seven chapters, each on a separate page, the novel runs a total of 315 words. It was a fair copy of how Brautigan visualized the published layout for this short novel.

Contents
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye

Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.
Limited Edition of 100 copies, in three versions, all printed by Marie C. Dern at the Jungle Garden Press in Fairfax, California, and bound by John DeMerritt of Berkeley, California.

Leather-Bound Version
Six copies bound in full blue leather by John DeMerritt and numbered I-VI. Each copy contained a bumper sticker on which the poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed. See below.

Lettered Version
Twenty-six copies, lettered A-Z were hard cover, quarter-bound in cloth and paper, issued without a dust jacket. Each copy contained a bumper sticker on which the poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed. See below.

Numbered Version
Sixty-eight copies were hard cover; quarter-bound in cloth and paper; issued with a dustjacket; numbered 1-68.

Contents
Contents include three novels
I Watched The World Glide Effortlessly Bye
The Conscripted Storyteller
a visit from jake
and three poems
"Nature Lover, or Something"
"a woman's eyes"
"Phantom Kiss"

All contents collected in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

Bumper Sticker
Each copy of the leather bound (6 copies) and lettered versions (26 copies) contained a 13" x 4" bumper sticker on which the poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed. Black ink printed on white stock. Only 32 copies of this bumper sticker were produced. Each copy was numbered.

The poem reads
"Phantom Kiss"
There
is no worse
hell
than
to remember
vividely
a
kiss
that never occurred.

Background
Previously unpublished stories and poems written by Brautigan in the 1950s and allegedly submitted to both Random House and Charles Scribners publishers in hopes they would publish them as a collection. Neither publisher accepted the work.

The novel I Watched The World Glide Effortlessly Bye is a 315-word poetic narrative of Brautigan's trip to the Salem State Hospital on 24 December 1955. Brautigan fictionalized himself as "Tommy," the handcuffed prisoner in the back seat as "Jesus Christ."

Brautigan gave this work, along with other writings, photographs, and personal items, to Edna Webster. Some of these works were collected as The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings.

Somebody from Hemingway Land

There's Always Somebody Who Is Enchanted

The manuscript for this section was written in 1956, while Brautigan lived with Harold and Lois Barton at their ranch on Fox Hollow Road/Harry Taylor Road, outside of Eugene, Oregon, following his release from the Oregon State Hospital, 19 February 1956. Dedicated "for Edna" [Webster], this manuscript was a fair copy of how Brautigan visualized the published layout for the nine short stories. All stories in the original manuscript were published in The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. Information about contents below.

maybe this is the way the world will end
mr. allen
monsters that drink human blood
there's always somebody who is enchanted
awakening
just love
the old woman
the forest

a visit from jake
Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.

a visit from jake, X-Ray, no. 6, Winter 1996.

rock around the clock
The Flower Burner

Three Experimental Dramas

Please Let Me Walk
Everybody and the Rose
Linda

 

Why Unknown Poets Stay Unknown, Part 2

Always the Geese
Love Is
Tom's Soul

Possibly written for Tom, a yellow cat Brautigan wrote about in A Love Letter From State Insane Asylum saying "one day he went away. He never came back home again."

Cats
Somebody Comes to This Place
A Lonely Wet
The Haunted Heart
In the Days of the Swans
When My Soul Didn't Love Me
A Butcher Knife
Voice from a Long-Ago Dusk
Hurry, Young Lovers
The Gentle Hunter
Something
Will My Soul Walk in the Rain?
Anyone for Kleenex?
Poem for Linda Webster When She Is Old Enough to Find Her Way Around in the Valley of Poetry
Days
the unemployed dreamers
poem for edna
Untitled ("Jesus")
portrait of an american teenage girl
farewell to my oedipus complex
Untitled (I am waiting anxiously)
a green neon sign which is happy
a hard day's work
we had fried rainbow trout for breakfast
the mind is the strangest city
the unknown dreamer
of course, we will not live happily ever after
creation of a poem
there was a wire screen between us
a coke
the poetry of your hands
eyes
perhaps
i would walk back across hell to get Your hat
photograph 15
story 3: the embarrassed hearse driver
still life 4
still life 1
question 4
profound saying 4
photograph 12
family portrait 3
photograph 9
profound saying 2
family portrait 2
family portrait 2
poem 1: the man who turned into a top
photograph 8
photograph 3
photograph 10
still life 2
profound saying 3
photograph 4
photograph 6
poem 4: love poem
still life 3
story 1: in god's arms
photograph 5
question 1
photograph 4
crawdads eating a sea lamprey
a haunted child
Poem for Little Momma
That Thing Which Walks the Earth
A Deer Hunting Memoir
Poem for Whom I Love a Green-Colored True
Called War
Untitled (There is a dark house)
mr. otto's sunday school class
One Man's Family
a glass of beer
The Flower Picker
in death's heart
child of the lovers
she came along
image
a twentieth-century dream
my ivory tower
advertisement
argument
a christmas tree in a graveyard
hunger for a star

Nature Lover, or Something
Selected Reprints
I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye
Fairfax, CA: Burton Weiss and James P. Musser, 1996.
Includes the novels I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye, The Conscripted Storyteller, and a visit from jake; and three poems, "Nature Lover, or Something," "a woman's eyes," and "Phantom Kiss." The poem "Phantom Kiss" was printed on a 13" x 4" bumper sticker and included with each copy of the leather bound (6 copies) and lettered versions (26 copies) of I Watched the World Glide Effortlessly Bye. Only 32 copies were printed, black ink on white stock. Each copy was numbered.

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Reviews

Reviews for this book are detailed below. See also General Reviews for commentary about Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, which may mention this book.

Anonymous. "Promises, Promises." Publishers Weekly, vol. 246, no. 3, 18 January 1999, p 259.
Full Text of This Review
"The anecdote sounds too good to be true, but John Radzicwicz, head of Houghton Mifflin's Mariner imprint, warrants its veracity. He says, "It's a quote I've repeated shamelessly" to talk up the May release of Richard Brautigan: The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings, which contains neverbefore-published material from the poet who committed suicide in 1984 after achieving superstardom with Trout Fishing in America. According to Radzicwicz, when Brautigan was a callow 21 and about to depart Eugene, Ore., for San Francisco, the then-unpublished writer presented a bundle of stories and poems to one Edna Webster, the mother both of his best friend and of his first serious girlfriend, with these words: "When I am rich and famous, Edna, this will be your Social Security." Edna is still alive, reports Radzicwicz, cautioning, "There's a little bit of hyperbole in the quote, but without citing numbers, I would say we'll tap into the same market that has so appreciably bought his backlist. The [new] individual pieces are classic Brautigan." As it happens, Edna Webster had earlier sold the original manuscripts to a library in Berkeley, Calif., from which Mariner acquired publishing rights. Poor Edna."

Bowman, David. "Literary Leftovers: Does even the most devoted fan really want to scrape the bottom of Dashiell Hammett's desk drawer?" Salon.com, 21 October 1999.
Reviews The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings by Brautigan and Nightmare Town: Stories by Dashiell Hammett, both collections of previously unpublished and uncollected writings. Expresses dissatisfaction with both. READ this review.

Hillard, Tom. "The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings." Western American Literature, vol. 35, no. 1, Summer 2000, pp 221-222.
Says this book is the first "new" work by Brautigan in over a decade, and calls it "indispensable" for Brautigan fans as it contains material from his early years, a time which, until now, has remained mysterious, referred to only through "cryptic and dark illusions." READ this review.

Lewis, Judith. Before the Trout: Richard Brautigan's Early Years. LA Weekly, 5-11 November 1999, p. 43.
Says that with three millions copies of Trout Fishing in America sold and Brautigan's work published in trilogy form by Houghton Mifflin, The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings "arrived right on schedule." READ this review.

Martin, Richard A. "Naïve Melodies: A Posthumous Book Unearths the Early Works of Richard Brautigan." Seattle Weekly, 7 October 1999, p. 41.
Says publication of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings helps reconcile Brautigan's benign works of the 1960s and his more perverse mysteries of the 1970s because "Brautigan reveals more of his detached and unhappy upbringing than in his other works." READ this review.

Ring, Kevin. "A Review of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writing." Fatea, n.d. http://www.fatea.freeserve.co.uk/
An online magazine dedicated to reviewing music, film, and books. Ring, editor of Beat Scene magazine, says, "The convoluted story of this early volume of the writing of the late Richard Brautigan goes back to the mists of time, to Brautigan's youth. He was 21 and living in Eugene in Oregon, he was on his way to San Francisco, to become a writer, find his fame and fortune. Brautigan was unpublished and unknown, Edna Webster was the mother of his first girlfriend and he is reported to have said to her, "When I am rich and famous this will be your social security." It is not recorded what the name of Richard's girlfriend was, she remains simply Edna Webster's daughter, possibly the forthcoming biography of Brautigan will shed light on her. The writings lay in a drawer in Edna Webster's house until recent times when she began to think of her social security and approached publishers. Brautigan's wishes for her came to pass. These are very early writings, derivative yet bearing the hallmarks that set Brautigan out as a writer with an outrageously brilliant imagination and the capacity to create alternate worlds. In his introductory essay Keith Abbott hints at the renewed interest in Brautigan after he faded with the withered blooms of the late 1960s and descended into an early death by his own hand. His books are again in print, with a few exceptions, they are very much keys to the almost underground history of the hippie era, telling tales other than peace and love. Brautigan was often an outsider and he appeals to outsiders, whether they occupy that position by choice or accident. A book for dreamers and those who still follow their dreams."

Schuessler, Jennifer. "The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings." The New York Times Book Review, 7 November 1999, p. 26.
The full text of this review reads, "Before he was the hirsute hippie icon in granny glasses and crusty denims pictured on the cover of such books as Trout Fishing in America, Richard Brautigan was a working-class outsider in Eugene, Oregon, filling notebooks with tributes to "the Unknown Dreamer" and rudimentary versions of the surreal fables and funny, folksy epigrams that would make his name. In 1956, the year he left for San Francisco, Brautigan, then 21, signed over to a girlfriend's mother, in tidy schoolboy handwriting, the rights to the poems and stories that are published here for the first time. The pieces range from unabashedly moon-eyed love lyrics to streetwise vignettes to a grimly minimalist account of his stay in a state mental hospital. (Brautigan committed suicide in 1984.) The young poet strikes familiar adolescent poses, railing against "conformity and averageism" and declaring that "Pretend / is / a city / bigger / than New York." But among the saccharine metaphors can be found, like the prize in a box of Cracker Jack, the gently ironic titles-in-search-of-a-poem ("Horsemeat for Sale") and disarmingly gimcrack koans ("Question: Is / this poem / as beautiful / as two five dollar bills / rubbing together?") that became his stock in trade. There are also a handful of prose pieces, gestures toward the shaggy, improvised not-quite-stories that critics would later suggest classifying simply as "Brautigans." But this touching first will and testament comes pretty much as billed in a poem titled "Advertisement": "For sale, / cheap, / 206 / slightly sticky / love poems, / written / by / a seventeen-year-old / poet.""

Seaman, Donna. "The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings." The Booklist, vol. 96, no. 10, 1 September 1999, pp 56-57.
The full text of this review reads, "How fitting it is that the earliest writings of one of the most quirky and enduringly popular voices of the 1960s, Richard Brautigan of Trout Fishing in America fame, emerge in the year that marks the thirtieth anniversaries of Woodstock and the first moon landing. When Brautigan left Eugene, Oregon, for the artistic mecca of San Francisco at age 21 in 1955 he bequeathed to Edna Webster the mother of both of his best buddy and his first girlfriend, a set of blithely agile poems and slyly funny short stories. Webster kept her gift until 1992, when she stunned a rare-book collector by describing her treasure and expressing her interest in selling it, a boon for Brautigan fans. Every selection in this slender volume bespeaks his wry affection for life and his love of literature. Brautigan's debt to e. e. cummings and the Beats is palpable, but so are his unique sense of irony and humor, flair for surrealism, earthiness, and juggler's ease in handling words, traits brought to piquant fruition in his celebrated later works."

Steinberg, Sybil S. "The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings." Publishers Weekly, vol. 246, no. 35, 30 August 1999, pp. 53-54.
The full text of this review reads, "In 1955 Brautigan was a lovelorn, 20-year-old literary hopeful who left his hometown of Eugene, Ore., for San Francisco's burgeoning Beat scene. He also left a sheaf of unpublished writings, along with a handwritten note (reproduced in the book) granting Edna Webster, the mother of Brautigan's first love and his best friend, all rights to the manuscripts, which, more than four decades later, have now emerged to make up this fragmentary collection of never-published poems and short prose. The signature themes and zany, melancholy sensibility that dominate Brautigan's most well-known works (Trout Fishing in America; In Watermelon Sugar) are prefigured here. The author inscribes himself as a thwarted lover enchanted to distraction by beautiful women, and as a man who endeavors to escape his social disillusion, depression and preoccupation with death by inventing endearing, childlike and frequently overstretched metaphors. The many short poems run the gamut from innocence to cruelty, often in record time: "For Christmas/ I/will give my mother/ a/ time bomb." Short pieces ("Question 1": "Is it/ against/the law/to eat/ice cream/in hell?") may seem slight, but other sad fragments reveal glimpses of the writer's wretched childhood and stint in a mental institution. The short prose pieces are more polished, like the abbreviated scene of alcoholic domesticity in "A Glass of Beer" or "The Flower Burner," in which a boy hopes to spy on a skinny-dipping girl and instead witnesses his sordid neighbors. Brautigan fans will delight in the raw egotism, mixed metaphors and flawed melodrama that were later stylized to subtler effect, and critics may opine that Brautigan never outgrew his hormonal urgencies and puerile self-aggrandizement. The appearance of these early writings 15 years after Brautigan's death reaffirm his prismatic literary place as not only a tragic literary icon but as a naive insomniac, bitter depressive and whimsical wordsmith. FYI: The volume contains a note by Brautigan collector Burton Weiss and an introductory essay by Keith Abbott."

Sullivan, James. "A Gift From Brautigan: San Francisco Writer's Earliest Poems and Stories Surface in Posthumous Collection." San Francisco Chronicle, 7 October 1999, pp. E1, E6.
Announces a discussion of Brautigan's legacy and the publication of The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings, 14 October 1999 at the Booksmith, on Haight Street, in San Francisco. Edna Webster and her son Peter, Brautigan's boyhood friend, as well as Keith Abbott scheduled to be present. Abbott and Peter Weber talk about Brautigan, attempting to bring some light to the mystery that still surrounds his life. Of note: Says Edna Webster tried to publish Brautigan's manuscripts in the mid-1970s but Brautigan intervened. Peter Weber says Brautigan was arrested and eventually remanded to the Oregon State Hospital after Brautigan threw a tantrum over money loaned him by Weber and got himself arrested. READ this review.

Thorpe, Peter. "Brautigan Arrives at Land of Giants." Rocky Mountain News, [Denver, Colorado], 19 September 1999, p. 2E.
Says Brautigan, through the 1960s and 1970s, created some of the most "interesting and challenging" writings in American literature. But, at age 21, when he left Eugene, Oregon, for San Francisco, California, Brautigan had already produced "a substantial body of high-quality poetry and fiction, most of it about love." READ this review.

Waddington, Chris. "Brautigan Again; 'When I'm rich and famous, Edna, this will be your social security.'" Star Tribune [Minneapolis, Minnesota], 19 September 1999, p. 14F.
Says The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings should help overcome skepticism of Brautigan for being too popular, too whimsical, and too distant. READ this review.

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Revenge of The Lawn, The Abortion, So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away

Publication

First USA Edition
1995
Boston: Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence
ISBN 0-395-70674-2
Paperback, with printed wrappers.

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Background

A collection of three books by Brautigan, each a facsimile reprint in the manner of its original edition, including front cover photographs and title pages. Includes the story collection Revenge of the Lawn, the novel The Abortion, and the novel So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away. Front cover photograph by Edmund Shea of Brautigan and Victoria Domalgoski was used on the front cover of The Abortion. No back cover illustration or photograph.

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Contents

Facsimile reprints of the complete texts of the story collection Revenge of the Lawn, the novel The Abortion, and the novel So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away in the manner of their original editions.

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Reviews

See the reviews for each book in this collection, and General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, which may mention this collection.

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A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, The Hawkline Monster

Publication

1991
Boston: Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence
159/220/216 pages; ISBN 0-395-54703-2
Paperback, with printed wrappers.

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Background

A collection of three books by Brautigan, each a facsimile reprint in the manner of its original edition, including front cover photographs and title pages. Includes three novels, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and The Hawkline Monster. Front cover photograph of Brautigan standing by the mailbox of his Pine Creek, Montana home attributed to Erik Weber, but in fact taken by John Fryer, of Livingston, Montana. This photograph was used on the back cover of The Hawkline Monster.

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Contents

Facsimile reprints of the complete texts of these three novels, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and The Hawkline Monster, each in the manner of their original editions.

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Reviews

Reviews for this book are detailed below. See also the reviews for each book in this collection, and General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, which may mention this collection.

Rogers, Michael. "Classic Returns—A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan." Library Journal, vol. 116, no. 5, 15 March 1991, p. 120.
The full text of this review reads, "'Less than a novel, this series of impressionistic sketches manages to catch the 'beat' character without the usual false seriousness so common to the genre,'" is how LJ's [Library Journal's] reviewer found Brautigan's first novel, A Confederate General from Big Sur (LJ 3/15/65). Here the book is returned to print along with two other out-of print Brautigan novels. Frequently compared to [Henry David ]Thoreau, [Ernest] Hemingway, and [Mark] Twain, Brautigan wrote six other novels, nine volumes of poetry, and a collection of short stories, but is best known for his novel Trout Fishing in America, which has sold over two million copies. Modern fiction collections will want to replenish their stock with this three-for-one bargain volume."

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Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, In Watermelon Sugar

Publication

First USA Edition
1969
New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence
112/108/138 pages; ISBN 1-1997-8543-1; First printing September 1969
Hard cover, with dust jacket.
Front cover photograph by Erik Weber of Brautigan and Michaela Blake-Grand which first appeared on the front cover of the first edition of Trout Fishing in America. Back cover is red with the word "mayonnaise" centered in white.

Reprint
1989 New York: Houghton Mifflin
112/108/138 pages; ISBN 0-395-50076-1; First printing 1 March 1989
Paperback, with printed wrappers.

Promotional Material
Quarter-page advertisement
Black and white
5" x 7"
Rolling Stone 1969

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Background

A collection of three books by Brautigan, each a facsimile reprint in the manner of its original edition, including front cover photographs and title pages. Includes the novel Trout Fishing in America, the poetry collection The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and the novel In Watermelon Sugar. Front cover photograph by Edmund Shea of Michaela Blake-Grand, Brautigan's daugher Ianthe, and Brautigan. Blake-Grand also appeared with Brautigan on the front cover of Trout Fishing in America. Back cover is blue with the word "mayonnaise" centered in white. Blue titles on front cover and spine. These same treatments are repreated on front and back dust jacket. Includes a review for each book.

This book is the first combined edition of any of Brautigan's works, and also the first hard cover edition of Trout Fishing in America. Publication of this collection resulted from a report by Kurt Vonnegut of Brautigan's West Coast popularity. Delacorte negotiated with Four Seasons Foundation to publish these three books. Three hundred thousand copies sold during the first year of publication.

A promotional party ("an afternoon with Richard Brautigan"), 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, was hosted by Book People at their store, 2010 7th Street (at University Avenue), Berkeley, California. The 8.5" x 11" hand-written, hand-drawn, mimeographed flyer promoting the event was printed black on yellow paper and featured an illustration of Brautigan enclosed in a sun shining on the Book People store.

Brautigan, fearful of change and thinking earlier success marked a magical formula, insisted that each book faithfully reproduce its earlier edition, including cover art, critical comments, and pagination.

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Contents

Facsimile reprints of the complete texts of the novel Trout Fishing in America, the poetry collection The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and the novel In Watermelon Sugar, each in the manner of their original editions.

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Reviews

Reviews for this book are detailed below. See also the reviews for each book in this collection, and General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, which may mention this collection.

Anonymous. "Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, In Watermelon Sugar." The New York Times Book Review, 7 June 1970, pp. 2, 38.
The full text of this review reads, "Republications in one volume of three works by an experimental writer of extraordinary comic perception. This is an important publication without the desolating tedium of recent literary 'importance.' These books are fun to read."

Reprinted
The New York Times Book Review, 6 Dec. 1970, p. 102.

Davenport, Guy. "C'est Magnifique mais Ce N'est pas Daguerre." Hudson Review, vol. 23, no. 1, 1970, pp. 154-161.
Reviews several works, including Brautigan's. READ this review.

Feld, Michael. "A Double with Christina." London Magazine Aug./Sep. 1971: 150-152.
A negative review of both Brautigan and his works. READ this review.

London Magazine, a bimonthly arts journal, featured poetry, articles, fiction, arts, and reviews. This issue also included a discussion of John Cage and Indeterminacy by Roger Sutherland, poetry by Sylvia Plath, and fiction by Elaine Feinstein. The cover art accompanied an article titled "Notes on the Decline and Fall of Indian Clothing" by Nirad Chaudhuri. This issue ran to 160 pages and was edited by Alan Ross.

Ketchum, Diane. "Counterculture Classic: Richard Brautigan, A Whimsical Muse of Spirit of the '60s." The Tribune [Oakland, California], 5 Apr. 1989, pp. D1, D2.
Reviews Keith Abbott's Downstream from Trout Fishing in America and Brautigan's collection. Says "If Richard Brautigan had lived only four years longer, he would have enjoyed his own revival as a legend of the '60s." Says the collection of Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, In Watermelon Sugar celebrates the publisher's twentieth anniversary of their first publication of the individual novels. Provides anecdotes about Brautigan in San Francisco during the 1960s. Says Trout Fishing in America "transcends its interest as a hippie period piece. With its deadpan tone and sustained metaphor of the search for an unspoiled trout stream, it has its place in the tradition of American fiction, as successor in sentiment of [Henry David] Thoreau and Mark Twain." READ this review.

Maillard, Keith. "Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, In Watermelon Sugar." Broadside/Free Press [Cambridge, Massachusetts], vol. 9, no. 5, 22 April 1970, p. 8.

READ this review.

McGuane, Thomas. "An Optimist vis-a-vis the Present." The New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 1970, Sec. 7, p. 49.

READ this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 12. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 57-74.
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 1. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Gale Research Company, 1973, pp. 44-45.

Morris, Desmond. "Books of the Year: A Personal Choice." The Observer [London], 21 Dec. 1969, p. 17.
Authors briefly describe the books they liked best from the year 1969. Morris notes City Without Words, a collection of poems by W. H. Auden, Groupie by Jenny Fabian and Johnny Byrne, and Brautigan's collection.
The full text of this review reads, "The most extraordinary literary discovery of the year for me was a young San Francisco writer, Richard Brautigans [sic], whose three-books-in one entitled Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar (Delacorte Press) will, I am told, shortly be published in this country. If I describe Brautigans [sic] as a hippie-surrealist, you will probably want to run a mile, but don't; his quirky, meandering fantasies are a delight, and I predict a major impact when he appears here."

Norman, Albert H. "Energy and Whimsy." Newsweek, 29 Dec. 1969, pp. 54-55.

READ this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980, pp. 57-74.

O'Hara, J. D. "Happier (but Not Holier) than Thou." Chicago Tribune Book World, 11 Jan. 1970, p. 3.

READ this review.

Parumba, Arthur. "Richard Brautigan's 3 & 1 & 3 in 1 Books." The Fifth Estate [Chicago], vol. 4, no. 16, 24 Dec. 1969, p. 17.

READ this review.

Shatkin, Allan I. "Brautigan, Richard." Library Journal, no. 95, 15 Apr. 1970, p. 1500.
The full text of this review reads, "Originally published separately by Four Seasons Foundation in San Francisco and later in paperback by Dell (1969), these avant-garde works now popular with college students are amusing and readable. The two novels are reminiscent of Kenneth Patchen's The Journal of Albion Moonlight (Assoc. Bks., 1968) in their delineation of freaky people in an extraordinary world. Life and love are treated with uninhibited imagination, often engendering unexpected similes ('. . . a roll of toilet paper, so old it looked like a relative, perhaps a cousin, to the Magna Carta'). The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, a volume of selected poems, abounds in surrealistic humor and startling earthiness. A good addition to large fiction collections."

Reprinted
Library Journal Book Review 1970. Ed. Judith Serebnick. Sowker, 1970, p. 703.

Walters, Richard. "Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar." Masterplots 1970 Annual. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Salem Press, 1970, pp. 56-62.
Says, "Brautigan is not the promising young writer of the year. . . . He [does not take] his writing seriously. . . . He is artlessly irreverent . . . wildly funny. . . . He blasphemes the continuing traditions of American literature . . . defies the timeless enigmas of man, and shuns the proper, proven subjects and characters. . . . So it is difficult to proceed, unarmed as we are, with no convenient facts to gird our loins, with little literary reputation to take up and guide our venture, with no syllabus for another school of humor. [Brautigan emerges as a humorist.] Brautigan, if he is hailed for anything, will be known for his comedy—pure and simple." READ this review.

Reprinted
Survey of Contemporary Literature. Revised Edition. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1977. Vol. 2, pp. 883-889.

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