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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wilson and The Realist

If you enjoy reading Robert Anton Wilson, perhaps you should take a moment to thank Paul Krassner.

Before he began publishing books in the 1970s (he actually published before before ILLUMINATUS!), Wilson wrote a variety of short pieces. Many of them were published in The Realist, the satirical counterculture magazine put out by Paul Krassner.

In an introduction to "Three Articles from the Realist" in Wilson's essay collection, COINCIDANCE, Wilson explains, "Paul Krassner's iconoclastic journal, The Realist, has published more of my writings than any other American magazine, and there was a period in the late 1950s and early 1960s when I might have given up writing entirely if Paul had not gone on publishing my work. I think everybody in the 'counterculture' owes a great debt to Paul Krassner, but I perhaps owe him more than anyone else."

There's an Internet archive site for The Realist here.


michael said...

Krassner's latest book, _Who's To Say What's Obscene? : Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today_ (City Lights Books, c2009), has a nice little obituary for his old friend RAW, pp.139-143.

RAW first got published in the Realist in 1959, around the time of his birthday (Jan 18). At the same time, RAW got published in the very scholarly James Joyce Quarterly (which has since changed to the James Joyce Review, but I'm not sure if it's still going); the 27 yr old wrote "Joyce and Taoism," which RAW saw fit to re-print (with a couple of minor changes) in his last collection, _Email To The Universe_.

I've talked to Krassner about RAW. He's amazed by the quality of his intellectualism.

If you (the royal "you") haven't read Krassner's autobio, _Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut_: highly recommended for RAWphiles. Krassner did acid with Groucho Marx, fer crissakes!

Eric Wagner said...

I find it interesting how in the _Joyce and Taosim_ article, Bob seems to see _Finnegans Wake_ as a much greater work than _Ulysses_. Later in life I think Wilson valued _Ulysses_ more and more, although I think he still preferred the Wake. It surprised a number of people (including me) in the 90's when he made _Ulysses_ the first book on his Brain Books list.