Bukowski’s Battle with Social Death: Tribute to a Post-Modern Steppenwolf

By Lasse Ekstrand and Monika Wallmon.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper considers a wider scope of the artistic practice of one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, the prolific underground writer Charles Bukowski (1920-1994). He is taken as a representative example of an individual’s resistance to the established society, a stance that is continuous throughout his writings. Bukowski can be regarded as a ‘post-modern Steppenwolf’. He is an outsider, beyond society’s norms. To explore living beyond society is to gain a greater understanding of the self. Yet the truly free life beyond society is non-existent, since it would be ‘social death’. One lives inside society, so one has to embrace it in one way or another. Bukowski was disgusted with society. But beyond society and its relations, one does not exist. Bukowski distanced himself from this position through his writings. His texts are a protest against the assumption that it has to be this way; with his writings he battled the social death.

Keywords: Biographical Research, Bukowski, Outsiderism, Post-Modernism

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 7, pp.21-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 520.321KB).

Dr. Lasse Ekstrand

Senior Lecturer, University of Gävle, Sweden

Dr. Monika Wallmon

Department of Business, Uppsala University, Sweden


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