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Charles Bukowski’s Personal Copy: Charles Bukowski: A Critical and Bibliographical Study

Charles Bukowski’s Personal Copy: Charles Bukowski: A Critical and Bibliographical Study

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Although there were a few critical analyses of Charles Bukowski’s work in the small presses during the 1960s, this was the first publication devoted completely to the task.

Hugh Fox, a fellow poet and early proponent of Bukowski’s work, published this analysis of Bukowski back in 1969, right before Bukowski began to take off.

This is Bukowski’s personal copy, inscribed to him by Fox:

“I hope you like this one Buk,” Fox writes. “I tried to tell it like it is.”

Alas, Bukowski did not like the book one bit.

In a letter to Carl Weisner (Bukowski’s translator and business agent in Germany) dated August 1, 1969, here’s what Bukowski said, referring to Fox’s book:

“…really, the worst one was the one done by the prof. the long book – he just went on winding-out the spool of literary criticism as he had been taught to do, and to make it more cajoling complete -- he called the worst poems the best poems, the best ones the worst, and very bothered with the term “surrealism,” I guess something they really jammed into his anus in college.”

So, why didn’t Bukowski throw it in the trash or burn it? He probably kept it around for his own vanity.

Considering this copy spent at least some time at 5124 De Longpre Avenue, it’s not in terrible shape. The staples were too short, so the staples did not go all the way through the back cover. But all pages are intact by the staples and because the cover was a single sheet that was folded, the cover itself is not detached. There is heavy creasing along the spine with several tears. The creases extend onto the covers and there are a couple of light stains on the rear cover – perhaps made by Bukoski himself. The edge of the final page extends beyond the rear cover and has some sunning and small tears.

Regardless of its condition, this is a true one-of-a-kind document for the Bukowski collector or researcher. It really belongs in an archive.

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