Oscar Zeta Acosta: The Uncollected Works

Overview

Poetry. Fiction. Essays. Latino/Latina Studies. This milestone collection gathers unpublished stories, essays, letters, poems and a teleplay written by Acosta (1935-1974), the Chicano attorney, political activist and writer, between the early 1960s and shortly before his mysterious disappearance in Mexico in 1974.

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Overview

Poetry. Fiction. Essays. Latino/Latina Studies. This milestone collection gathers unpublished stories, essays, letters, poems and a teleplay written by Acosta (1935-1974), the Chicano attorney, political activist and writer, between the early 1960s and shortly before his mysterious disappearance in Mexico in 1974.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The Brown Buffalo bellows from beyond the graveā€”and the roar resounds.

Oscar "Zeta" Acosta is most widely remembered as the model for Hunter S. Thompson's drug-gobbling Samoan attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a masterpiece of demented reportage. The Mexican-American civil rights lawyer and political activist disappeared in Mexico in 1974; Acosta's editor and biographer Stavans (Bandido: Oscar "Zeta" Acosta and the Chicano Experience, 1995) suggests that he died in an accident or was murdered, but, more tantalizingly, also offers the theory that Acosta may have simply decided to vanish south of the border to acquire an Ambrose Biercelike mystique. Acosta's previously published writings include two fine books, Revolt of the Cockroach People and Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, as well as a handful of stories, articles, and letters. Stavans adds considerably to this stock with a sampling of Acosta's acid (that is to say, both lysergic-fueled and scathing), often howlingly funny poems, a quartet of roughly shaped short stories, and a play, all of which will be welcome to students of Chicano literature and Acosta fans. Especially valuable are a handful of brown-power pamphlets and a politically charged autobiographical essay in which Acosta addresses his fellow Mexican-Americans. "You can't be a class or a nation without land," he asserts. "We have to develop the consciousness of land as the principal issue just as three years ago we had to develop the consciousness of identity as the principal issue." Acosta reiterates, in a madcap letter to Playboy magazine, that he can rightfully claim coauthorship of the theory of "Gonzo journalism," which Thompson rode to fame: "These matters I point out not as a threat of legalities or etcetera but simply to inform you and to invite serious discussion on the subject."

Stavans does service to Acosta's memory and to Chicano literature, with this collection.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558850996
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 368
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Ilan Stavans
Ilan Stavans
Ilan Stavans, editor, is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include The Hispanic Condition and On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language. He edited Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, volumes #149, #150, and #151 of The Library of America.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Oscar "Zeta" Acosta: The Uncollected Works
Autobiographical Essay 5
From Whence I Came 19
Assorted Poems 55
Selected Letters
Betty Daves 67
Judge Bush 93
Doctor's Hospital 97
Hunter S. Thompson 105
Playboy 109
Willie L. Brown, Jr. 113
Douglas Empringham 119
Fiction
Perla Is a Pig 125
Draft: The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo 149
Draft: The Revolt of the Cockroach People 177
To Whom It May Concern 193
The Worm Dieth Not 205
The Little House 227
Teleplay
The Catalina Papers 241
Non-fiction
Racial Exclusion 281
Una carta de Zeta al barrio 293
Declaration of Candidacy 299
Testament 305
Selected Bibliography 309
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