Texas Literary Outlaws: Six Writers in the Sixties and Beyond

Overview

At the height of the sixties, a group of Texas writers stood apart from Texas' conservative establishment. Calling themselves the Mad Dogs, these six writers-Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, Billy Lee Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, and Peter Gent-closely observed the effects of the Vietnam War; the Kennedy assassination; the rapid population shift from rural to urban environments; Lyndon Johnson's rise to national prominence; the Civil Rights Movement; Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys; Willie Nelson, Jerry ...
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Overview

At the height of the sixties, a group of Texas writers stood apart from Texas' conservative establishment. Calling themselves the Mad Dogs, these six writers-Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, Billy Lee Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, and Peter Gent-closely observed the effects of the Vietnam War; the Kennedy assassination; the rapid population shift from rural to urban environments; Lyndon Johnson's rise to national prominence; the Civil Rights Movement; Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys; Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, the new Outlaw music scene; the birth of a Texas film industry; Texas Monthly magazine; the flowering of "Texas Chic"; and Ann Richards' election as governor.

In Texas Literary Outlaws, Steven L. Davis makes extensive use of untapped literary archives to weave a fascinating portrait of writers who came of age during a period of rapid social change. With Davis's eye for vibrant detail and a broad historical perspective, Texas Literary Outlaws moves easily between H. L. Hunt's Dallas mansion and the West Texas oil patch, from the New York literary salon of Elaine's to the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, from Dennis Hopper on a film set in Mexico to Jerry Jeff Walker crashing a party at Princeton University. The Mad Dogs were less interested in Texas' mythic past than in the world they knew firsthand-a place of fast-growing cities and hard-edged political battles.

The Mad Dogs crashed headfirst into the sixties, and their legendary excesses have often overshadowed their literary production. Davis never shies away from criticism in this no-holds-barred account, yet he also shows how the Mad Dogs' rambunctious personae have deflected atrue understanding of their deeper aims. Despite their popular image, the Mad Dogs were deadly serious as they turned their gaze on their home state, and they chronicled Texas culture with daring, wit, and sophistication.


About the Author:
STEVEN L. DAVIS received his master's degree in Southwestern studies from Texas State University-San Marcos in 1995. He has appeared often in Southwestern American Literature and Texas Books in Review. He currently serves as the assistant curator of the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos, which houses the literary papers of Shrake, King, Brammer, and Cartwright.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875652856
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 510
  • Sales rank: 1,447,837
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Texas literary outlaws 1
1 A rebel in West Texas 9
2 A Texas Oasis 25
3 The gay place 39
4 Fort Worth's new journalism 55
5 The Texas beats 72
6 Big D meets the Flying Punzars 84
7 A gathering force 96
8 A long way from Beaumont 109
9 Dallas, 1963 118
10 A new beginning 129
11 The doors of perception 140
12 Literary Comanches 152
13 These happy occasions 157
14 The one-eyed man 166
15 Cowboys and Indians 172
16 Harper's on the rise 183
17 Obscure famous Arthurs 188
18 Absurdism in the Southwest 198
19 Busted in the Oasis 207
20 Harvard's "White Racist" 215
21 Land of the permanent wave 220
22 Mad Dog, Texas 228
23 King's road 239
24 Outlaws 250
25 Hack observations and literary feuds 259
26 Redneck hippies 268
27 Strange peaches 275
28 Semi-tough 281
29 A new view of Texas 289
30 The cowboy professor 294
31 Live music capital 298
32 North Dallas forty 302
33 The regenerator erection laboratory 309
34 Challenging Texas 315
35 Changes at Sports Illustrated 320
36 Texas' Gonzo journalist 325
37 Texas brain fry 334
38 LBJ, speed, and paranoia 341
39 Hollywood vs. Sports Illustrated 349
40 Whorehouse 355
41 A fraction of his talent 362
42 Measures of success 367
43 Hitting the wall 374
44 A recovery 381
45 "Ever a bridegroom" 385
46 Third coast 394
47 Faces in the fire 397
48 Jenkins 403
49 King 417
50 Cartwright 433
51 Shrake 441
52 "Doing indefinable services of mankind" 451
Notes 460
Bibliography 492
Index 502
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2004

    Deconstructing the 'Mad Dog' Six

    Documenting and influencing the evolving Texas culture of the sixties, the six authors studied in Steven L. Davis¿s Texas Literary Outlaws were right at the center of the action. There for the Kennedy assassination, Lyndon Johnson¿s transformation from senator to president, the brawl over Jim Crow laws, the birth of Texas Monthly magazine, and Ann Richard¿s rise to prominence, these authors were practically inseparable from the issues they wrote about. Davis deftly picks apart the knot of the Mad Dogs¿ relationships to their work and each other in what Patrick Beach of the Austin American-Statesman calls ¿a heroic work resting on a sturdy tripod of extensive scholarship, fluid writing and trenchant but bottomlessly humane criticism.¿ This work is a great read for anyone interested in the rowdy days of Texas¿s recent history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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