Continuum is very excited to announce the publication of Gonzo Republic: Hunter S. Thompson’s America by William Stephenson (Senior Lecturer in English, University of Chester, UK), available in the US on November 17th and in the UK on 19 January.
Gonzo Republic takes a long, hard look at Hunter S. Thompson’s complex relationship with America. Thompson was a patriot but also a stubborn individualist. Stephenson examines the whole range of Thompson’s work, from his early reporting from the South American client states of the USA in the 1960s to his twenty-first-century internet columns on sport, politics and 9/11 — indeed, this is the first academic study of Thompson to be published in over 20 years (!), and the only one to adequately address his late work. Stephenson argues that Thompson inhabited, but was to some extent reacting against, the tradition of American individualism inaugurated by the Founding Fathers and continued by Emerson and Thoreau. Thompson sought out the edge—the threshold of chaos and insanity—in order to define himself. His characters enact the same quest, travelling through the surreal landscape of his literary America: the Gonzo Republic.
Stephenson’s book is a welcome and long-overdue alternative to the flood of recent books on Thompson that have tended to focus on the man himself as opposed to his ideas. Gonzo Republic is sure to be an invaluable resource for students and scholars, as well as for anyone interested in Thompson’s complicated intellectual legacy. If you still aren’t sold, perhaps this effusive praise from some of the world’s finest Thompson experts will do the trick:
“Stephenson is on the money. There is a need for a serious, academic study of Hunter S. Thompson. Stephenson’s thematic approach is perfectly suited for the purpose of the book. Though he takes a serious, scholarly approach, Stephenson’s writing is extremely accessible. I think Thompson would approve.” — William McKeen, Professor and Chair, Journalism Department, Boston University, USA, and author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson
“Gonzo Republic is a first-rate critical examination of Hunter S. Thompson’s fierce literary output and social activism. William Stephenson has a fine grasp on all things Thompson. His defense of Curse of Lono is truly inspired. Mandatory reading for anybody interested in the Doctor of Journalism.” — Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Proud Highway and Fear and Loathing in America
“William Stephenson provides the first major, in-depth critique of this enormously deceptive, complex American author. He is attuned to the contradictions between Thompson’s strident individualism and his advocacy for a healthy, collective body politic. With a poet’s sensitivity and an unflinching critical vision, Stephenson is well equipped to guide readers through the blasted landscape of Hunter S. Thompson’s America.” — Will Kaufman, author of American Culture in the 1970s and Woody Guthrie, American Radical