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Novels > The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Romance

First published in 1974, The Hawkline Monster was Richard Brautigan's fifth published novel, and the first to parody a literary genre. Subtitled "A Gothic Western," the novel was well received by a wider audience than Brautigan's earlier work.

As in earlier novels, Brautigan played with the idea that imagination has both good and bad ramifications, turning it into a monster with the power to turn objects and thoughts into whatever amused it.

Writing History
Brautigan wrote this novel in 1972-1973(?) in a rented tourist cabin at the Pine Creek Lodge and Store in Pine Creek, Montana, in Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston. He went there at the invitation of writer Thomas McGuane (92 in the Shade). Living nearby were writers Jim Harrison (Farmer) and his wife, and William R. Hjortsberg (Falling Angel) and his wife Marian. Actors Peter Fonda and his wife Becky (Portia Crockett; McGuane's ex-wife), Jeff Bridges, and Warren Oates, film director Sam Peckinpah, cinematographer Michael Butler, and painter Russell Chatham also lived nearby. Other visiting writers (like Guy de la Valdene), artists, and musicians often visited. The group called itself "The Montana Gang." Brautigan was impressed with the machismo and the ability of some members to achieve financial security by turning their novels into movies.

Livingston, Montana, members of "The Montana Gang," and others were profiled in several newspaper articles, some of which mentioned Brautigan.

Robert Cross's article, "A Refuge in Montana: The Gossip-Column Set Slips Quietly into the Woods" (Chicago Tribune 20 September 1992. Travel Section, 1), focuses on Livingston, Montana, as the town near where author William R. Hjortsberg lives and writes.

READ the full text of this article.

Phil Patton's article, "The Dude Is Back in Town" (The New York Times 18 April 1993, Sec. 9:10), focuses on the reemergence of popularity of Western style in furniture, furnishings, clothing, and collectables. Patton offers a time line "When Easterner Met West," detailing the history of the popularity of the Western style. He mentions Brautigan as part of Livingston, Montana, "Big Sky Bloomsbury."

READ the full text of this article.

Toby Thompson's article, "Out There: Livingston, MONT: A Rumble Runs Through It" (The New York Times 11 April 1993, Sec. 9: 3), focuses on The Murray Hotel in Livingston, Montana, which has long been a watering hole for the rich and famous and otherwise noteworthy.

READ the full text of this article.

Inspiration for the Novel
In a letter dated 15 February 1967 to Robert Parks Mills, his literary agent at the time, Brautigan wrote about "plotting a Western novel that I will write this year. I've always wanted to write a Western and so that's what I'm going to do." LEARN more >>>

Screenplay
Hal Ashby, director of the movies Being There and Harold and Maude, purchased the screenplay rights. Brautigan wrote a screenplay for a movie adaptation but abandoned the project when asked to rewrite the first draft.

After Brautigan refused to write a second draft, Ashby asked writer Michael Dare to write additional scenes for the screenplay. Despite this new treatment, the project was never completed.

Feedback from Michael Dare
Michael Dare. Email to John F. Barber, 25 February 2008.
Feedback from Douglas Avery
Douglas Avery. Email to John F. Barber, 17 September 2009.
Brad Donovan, coauthor, with Brautigan, of the 1982 screenplay, Trailer, provides some additional details about Brautigan's involvement with the original screenplay.

Brad Donovan. Email to John F. Barber, 29 October 2007.
Dedication
Dedication reads:
This novel is for the Montana Gang.
Inscriped Copies
Copy inscribed to Bob Bauer
This copy is for Bob Bauer
"Thank you"
Richard Brautigan
Pine Creek Montana
October 23, 1980
Edition inscribed is El Monstruo de Hawkline: Un Western Gótico, first Spanish edition, 1979
Copy inscribed on title page to Esmond H. Coleman
This copy is for Esmond H. Coleman
Richard Brautigan
November 23, 1974
San Francisco

Edition inscribed is First Edition, 1974
Copy inscribed on title page to Robert Creeley
This copy is for Robert Creeley
with love from Richard Brautigan
San Francisco
November 23, 1974
Edition inscribed is Simon & Schuster, 1974

Brautigan inscribed copies of In Watermelon Sugar (1968), The Abortion (1971), The Hawkline Monster (1974), Dreaming of Babylon (1977), and June 30th, June 30th (1978) for Creeley.
Copy inscribed to John and Margot Doss
This copy is for John and Margot Doss
"with many thanks"
Richard Brautigan
San Francisco
August 26, 1974
Edition inscribed is First Edition, 1974

John and Margot Doss were long-time personal friends with Brautigan. They owned a home in Bolinas, California, which Brautigan visited prior to his own purchase of a home there. John Doss was a San Francisco medical doctor. Margot Patterson Doss was a writer and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She organized a surprise birthday party for Brautigan in 1970.
Copy inscribed to Bob Gorsuch
This copy is for Bob Gorsuch
"and again wishing him a very happy 1983"
Richard Brautigan
Montana 1982
Edition inscribed is Det Kolde Hu I Ørken: En Fantastik Western, first Danish edition, 1976
Copy inscribed to Bob Gorsuch
This copy is for Bob Gorsuch
"and again wishing him a very happy 1983"
Richard Brautigan
Pine Creek Montana December 26, 1982
Edition inscribed is Hawkline Monstret: En Skräckroman Från Västern, first Swedish edition, 1976
Copy inscribed to Bobbie [Hawkins, wife of poet Robert Creeley?]
This copy is for Bobbie with love
from Richard Brautigan
"see you soon"
San Francisco
November 23, 1974
Edition inscribed is First edition, hardcover, 1974
Copy inscribed on title page to Brick Roberts
This copy is for Brick Roberts
my "trout fishing" buddy
Richard Brautigan
San Francisco
May 12, 1980

Edition inscribed is Simon and Schuster, First Edition, paperback, 1974.
From the collection of Gregory Miller. Used by permission.
Copy inscribed to Jane Winslow, wife of surrealist poet Pete Winslow
This copy is for Jane Winslow
Wishing her a beautiful spring
Richard Brautigan
San Francisco, April 12, 1980
Edition inscribed is First Edition, hardcover, 1974, second printing.

Reportedly, another book Brautigan inscribed for Winslow also contained a full-page, original poem written by Brautigan.

Front cover New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974
5.5" x 8.25"; 216 pages; ISBN 0-671-21809-3
First printing September 1974
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
Brown cloth-covered boards; Gold titling on front cover and spine; Tan endpapers
Front dust jacket color illustration by Wendell Minor
Two binding varieties: stiched (regular edition) and glued (Book Club Edition)

Back cover
Back dust jacket photograph by John Fryer, Livingston, Montana, of Brautigan standing beside the mailbox of his Pine Creek, Montana home in 1974. This same photograph was also used on the front cover of the collection A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, The Hawkline Monster.

Fryer took several other photographs of Brautigan at his Montana ranch during the 1974 publicity photography session. LEARN more >>>

Proof Copy
129 pages
Printed wrappers

Front cover London: Arena Books, 1987
144 pages; ISBN 0-099-39120-1; First printing 2 April 1987
UK front cover London: Jonathan Cape, 1975
216 pages; ISBN 0-224-01064-6
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
First United Kingdom edition
T'aichung, Taiwan: n. d.
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
An exact facsimile of the first American edition save for the Chinese characters on the copyright page and the use of tissue-like paper which makes this book appear slimmer than the original.
AU front cover Melbourne: Hunter Publishers, 2009
144 pages; ISBN 978-0-980-517-934
First printing February 2009
Printed wrappers
Feedback from John Hunter
John Hunter. Email to John F. Barber, 10 February 2009.
Front cover Boston: Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence, 1991
5.5" x 8.25"; 159/220/216 pages; ISBN 0-395-54703-2; First printing February 1991
Printed wrappers

Collects, as facsimile reprints, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, and The Hawkline Monster in the manner of their original editions, including title pages and cover photographs. LEARN more >>>
Front cover London: Picador-Pan Books Limited, 1976
142 pages; ISBN 0-330-24829-4
Printed wrappers
Cover shown here is 1980 printing
Front cover New York: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster, 1976
188 pages; ISBN 0-671-80747-1 / 0-671-22156-6; First printing October 1976
Printed wrappers
Front cover Also included in a slipcase with The Abortion and Revenge of the Lawn.
Front cover New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974
5.25" x 8"; 216 pages; ISBN 0-671-22156-6
Printed wrappers
Front Cover Also included in a slipcase with The Abortion and Revenge of the Lawn.
616 pages total; ISBN 0-671-20872-1

Front Cover Hawlinská nestvůra. Trans. Rudolph Chalupský. Praha (Prague): Volvox Globator, 2002.
First Czech edition
136 pages; ISBN 80-7207-457-X
Hard cover, with dust jacket
Reviews
Ulmanová, Hana. "Brautigan, Richard: Hawklinská nestvůra, recenze." Respekt (36) 9 September 2003.

READ this review, in Czech.

Online Resource
This review, in Czech, at the "literatura" website
Front cover Det Kolde Hu I Ørken: En Fantastik Western [The Cold House in the Desert: A Fantastic Western]. Trans. Finn Holten Hansen. Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1976.
First Danish edition
192 pages
Printed wrappers
Front cover illustration by Boye Willusen
Het Monster in de Kelder. Trans. Jos Knipscheer. Bussum: Agathon, 1977.
First Dutch edition
Printed wrappers
Kartanon Peto Kauhuromanttinen lännenromaani. Trans. Jarkko Laine. Helsinki: Suomentanut Jarkko Laine/Otava, 1977.
First Finnish edition
Hard Cover, with dust jacket
Bourgois editions
Front cover Le Monstre des Hawkline. Trans. Michel Doury and Lorraine de la Valdène. Paris: Bourgois, 2003.
208 pages; ISBN 2-267-01698-2
Printed wrappers

Le Monstre des Hawkline. Trans. Michel Doury and Lorraine de la Valdène. Paris: Bourgois, 1976.
First French edition

Additional Resource
Lottman, Herbert R. "France: A Growing Taste for Anglo-American Authors." Publishers Weekly 4 September 2000: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62-63.
An overview of the publishing industry in France and its interest in American writers. Notes that publisher Christian Bourgois says
"there's a new generation of French critics&mdasah;and book buyers—curious about what comes out of America and prepared to embrace it." Bourgois . . . is one of the rare publishers in France (or anywhere for that matter) publishing under his own name—and independent. Not being able to afford the greats, Bourgois began with writers of his own generation, such as Richard Brautigan. (62)
Bourgois published several French translations of Brautigan's works including Trout Fishing in America, In Watermelon Sugar, The Hawkline Monster, Willard and His Bowling Trophies, Sombrero Fallout, Dreaming of Babylon, The Tokyo-Montana Express, So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, and Revenge of the Lawn.
10-18 editions
Front Cover Le Monstre des Hawkline. Paris: 10-18, 2004.
ISBN 2-264-04057-2
Printed wrappers
Front cover Le Monstre des Hawkline. Paris: 10-18, 1990
. Printed wrappers
Front cover illustration is a detail from Edward Hopper's painting "Dawn in Pennsylvania"
Le Monstre des Hawkline. Paris: 10-18, 1985.
First French edition.
Front cover Das Hawkline Monster, Ein seltsamer Western mit 2 Killern, 2 schönen Frauen und 1 Monster. Trans. Günter Ohnemus. Reinbek by Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag (rororo 12631), 1990.
123 pages; ISBN 3-499-12631-1
Printed wrappers
12,000 copies published
Front Cover Das Hawkline Monster, Ein seltsamer Western mit 2 Killern, 2 schönen Frauen und 1 Monster. Trans. Günter Ohnemus. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn Verlag, Feb. 1986.
First German edition
202 pages; ISBN 3-821-80151-4
Printed wrappers and end flaps
Front cover illustrations by Henri Schmid
Reviews
Krull, Wilhelm. "Professor & Chemikalien: Richard Brautigan Roman 'Das Hawkline Monster'." Frankfurter Rundschau 16 September 1986: ***?***.

READ this review, in German.
Tantow, Lutz. "Parodie des Trivialen." Süddeutsche Zeitung 25 June 1986: ***?***.

READ this review, in German.
Hokurainke no Kaibutsu: Goshikku Uesutan. Tokyo: Shobunsha, 1975.
Front cover Il mostro degli Hawkline. Trans. Enrico Monti. Milano: Isbn Edizioni, November 2008.
208 pages; ISBN 9788876380983
Printed white wrappers: barcode under title is standard for all books Red stain on page edges indicates the genre; red is for fiction

Reviews
Petrella, Marco. l'Unità
A review in comic form by Italian artist Marco Petrella appeared in his weekly column in the newspaper L'Unità.

Online Resources
Information about this book, in Italian, at the Isbn Edizioni website

An interview with Enrico Monti, in Italian, about Brautigan

Marco Petrella's website
Hawkline-uhyret. Trans. Olav Angell. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1974.
***. Trans. Hussein Noosh-azar. Tehran, Iran: Morvarid, 2012.
140 pages

Online Resources
"The Hawkline Monster" to arrive, an article at the Iran Book-News Agency website
Front cover Potwór Profesora Hawkline'a: Western Gotycki. Trans. Jacek Matuszak. Pozan: Rebis, 1998.
154 pages; ISBN 8-371-20679-8
Front cover The Hawkline Monster. St. Petersberg: Azbooka, 2005.
7" x 4.5"
224 pages
ISBN 5-352-01577-7
Printed wrappers
Front cover El Monstruo de Hawkline: Un Western Gótico. Trans. J.M.Alvarez Flórez and Angela Pérez. Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, 1979.
First Spanish edition
183 pages
Printed wrappers
Front cover Hawkline Monstret: En Skräckroman Från Västern. Trans. Caj Lundgren. Stockholm: Wahlström & Windstrand, 1976.
First Swedish edition
Cover illustration by Per Åhlin
Typography by Vidar Forsberg
Printed wrappers
Hawkline Canavaril, Bir Gotik Western. Trans. Sebnem Vitrinel. Istanbul: Altikirkbes Yayin (6.45), 1996.
Printed wrappers
Front cover Satodaki Canavar [Monster at The Chateau]. Trans. Nurten Arakon. Istanbul: Hurriyet Yayinlari, 1979.
Hurriyet Yayinlari was the publisher of Turkey's most influential newspaper, Hurriyet.
First publication of any Brautigan book in Turkish translation
Printed wrappers
In addition to the specific reviews detailed below, commentary about this book may also be included in General Reviews of Brautigan's work and his place in American literature, or reviews of his Collections.

Ackroyd, Peter. "Grotesquerie." The Spectator [London] 7658 5 April 1975: 411.
Reviews Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban and The Hawkline Monster by Brautigan.

READ the full text of this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.
Adams, Phoebe-Lou. "The Hawkline Monster." Atlantic October 1974: 119-120.
The full text of this review reads
The author calls his novel "A Gothic Western," and perhaps one should leave it at that, rather than trail him through Jungian symbolism or protests against technological civilization, for it looks as though Mr. Brautigan himself never quite decided where he was headed.
Agapow, Paul-Michael. "Review of The Hawkline Monster." The Linköping Science Fiction & Fantasy Archive 16 October 1997.
Archived at http://homepage.cs.latrobe.edu.au/agapow/Postviews/past_bi-bu.html

READ this review.
Anoymous. Anatomy of Wonder. A Critical Guide to Science Fiction. Third Edition. Ed. Neil Barron. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1987. 234.
The full text of this review reads
A pair of professional killers are hired to get rid of a monster created by an eccentric scientist. A funny variation of the Frankenstein theme, written in the author's typical mock-naive style, which works better here than in the hippie-utopia story In Watermelon Sugar (1968).
—. Anatomy of Wonder. A Critical Guide to Science Fiction. Second Edition. Ed. Neil Barron. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1981. 162.
The full text of this review reads
In a remote laboratory—house of prostitution in Oregon at the turn of the century, Professor Hawkline of Harvard combines chemicals that generate a powerful and dangerously mischievous life form. He is victimized by it. The twin Hawkline daughters hire professional killers, Greer and Cameron, to solve the problem. They do. An SF/fantasy hybrid by an enormously popular writer among American undergraduates—and many others. Very funny, with intimations of wisdom about the human condition as well.
—. "Books." Playboy 21 September 1974: 22, 24.
[T]here is a real plot and a thread of continuity that runs through chunky, one-page chapters containing passages that run the gamut of style from [Edgar Allan] Poe to Zane Grey, from Ian Fleming to George V. Higgins. This is certainly Brautigan's most simultaneously unified and eclectic work.
READ the full text of this review.

—. "Brautigan, Richard." The Booklist 15 September 1974: 70.
The full text of this review reads
With just the right blend of cowpoke humor and touches of the macabre, Brautigan hilariously spoofs the traditional Western as well as the classic horror tale. Involved are two damsels in distress who engage a couple of young hired killers to rid their lives of a malevolent spirit, the Hawkline Monster.
—. "Brautigan, Richard." Kirkus Reviews 1 July 1974: 695.
The full text of this review reads
More Brautigan: smug, clever, silly, short and sweet. . . . metaphysics reduced to the evil intent of a light inside a jar of chemicals vs. the benevolence of its guilt-ridden shadow, and you expect that happy ending, with a catch . . . The Western part of this collaboration consists of a pair of soft-hearted hired killers who are almost indistinguishable; the Gothics are the identical Misses Hawkline who engage them to dispose of a monster who has already metamorphosized their scientist father into an elephant-foot umbrella stand and after striking down the giant butler, mischievously transforms him into a dwarf while the Westerns and the Gothics are conjugating in an upstairs bedroom. Even without a Harvard education, those gunslingers figure out the problem lies sat the bottom of a leaded crystal jar in the lab. A glass of whiskey turns the evil chemicals to diamonds, restores father, butler and order to the Hawkline household . . . but in a postscript wealth, the double-ring ceremony and the sense of finality to the adventure dissolves into mundane divorce, petty criminality, accidental death and obscurity. Along the way, those particular Brautigan apercus ("Just like a shrot history of men, there were two towns in the county"), punctuating emphatic chapter heads that make no sense till you've read the chapter, minor characters that seem sprung from tall tales of the Far West, that spareness of image, succinctness of dialogue, one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary fiction, here or anywhere, like him or not.
Bannon, Barbara A. "The Hawkline Monster." Publishers Weekly 5 August 1974: 50.
The full text of this review reads
Brautigan has his following all right (Trout Fishing in America, A Confederate General from Big Sur, The Abortion: An Historical Romance) but whether that youthful clique will line up avidly to pay $5.95 for a hardcover edition of this little pastiche is a question. We doubt it. It all takes place in the Old West (Oregon, 1902) where a couple of mean hombres (good at heart, of course, but better in bed) encounter a strange pair of sisters, one of whom passes for a time as an Indian lass. The ladies tempt the men to shack up with them and try to rid the moldering family mansion of the monster that lurks in the ice caves beneath the house (the monster and his "shadow" as well). It all harks back to daddy's scientific experiments gone awry and, although some of it is funny satire in a very obvious way, much of it is just plain silly. Maybe somebody could make a "Blazing Saddles" wild movie out of this but its hard to see it as much of a book. 40,000 first printing, major campaign.
Reprinted / Excerpted
Publishers Weekly 16 August 1976: 122.

Publishers Weekly 4 August 1975: 59.
Barnes, Julyan. "Kidding." New Statesman 4 April 1975: 457.
The latest twee offering from Richard Brautigan is a 'gothic western' set in Oregon in 1902. Two topline gunslingers are hired by two indistinguishably beautiful sisters to kill a monster which has transformed their father, Professor Hawkline, into an elephant foot umbrella-stand. The monster, it turns out, is an illusion created by a mutated light which lives at the bottom of a jar of chemicals and is followed around by a shadow. The shadow is very cut up when the light does wicked things to the inhabitants of Hawkline Manor, like changing their thoughts around and making their clothes fall off. Some of the chemicals are not too happy either: indeed, one little chemical feels just awful 'because it had wanted very much to help mankind and make people smile. The chemical now cried a lot and kept to itself near the bottom of the jar'. Virtue, beauty and the gun, however, eventually triumph, the fiendish light is destroyed, and the Professor brought back to life. He is not the only one in need of revival by this time: Mr. Brautigan's arch little chapterettes, laid out with the prissy self-importance of a WI flower arranger, certainly take their toll. The watered style and paper-thin narrative leave so much of the mind free that it zooms hopefully around looking for possible allegory, symbolism or even (cutting its losses) straightforward hidden depth. One returns to base fatigued and empty-handed.
Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.
Barnett, Richard J., and Robert Manning. "Books Briefly." Progressive (39) January 1975: 55.
The full text of this review reads
There ought to be a law against the exuberance of book jacket blurbs which describe relatively modest literary efforts as "major novels." Brautigan himself might decry this term found on the jacket of his latest work. The Hawkline Monster offers bearable suspense about a monster that dwelled in the ice caves below a Gothic mansion in Oregon seventy years ago along with poetic imagery, a dash of sex, and some comic effects. It has its moments but one is not likely to remember them. A pleasant hour of reading, it qualifies as a minor entertainment rather than a major work.
Bloodworth, W. "Literary Extensions of the Formula Western." Western American Literature 14(4) Winter 1980: 287-296.
Briefly mentions Brautigan in connection to a larger study of Western literature.

The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
This paper proposes to define the relationship between the so-called Formula or Popular Western and a still-emerging tradition of American writers which draws upon the Formula Western for setting and characters but which does not sit easily under the rubric of popular culture. . . Somewhere within the tradition I am trying to describe there may even be a place for such idiosyncratic works as Richard Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster (1972)—subtitled "A Gothic Western"—or Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976), provided that they are accompanied by several question marks (287, 286).

Whereas it is difficult to find a Literary Western that successfully explodes popular attitudes towards landscape, it is uncommonly easy to cite examples which seem to revise or eliminate the traditional character traits of the western hero. Much in line with modern literature, the protagonists of the Literary Western tend to be antiheroes, non-heroes, or—at the very least—unsuccessful heroes. At one end of the spectrum are the characters whose bravery exceeds their ability to survive . . .. At the opposite extreme [are] . . . Brautigan's two killers in The Hawkline Monster . . . (292).
Cabau, Jacques. "Western dans un Château Hanté." L' Express 1 August 1977: 17.
One of the most original of the counterculture writers. . . . He makes little marvelous creations, half novel, half poem, little loafings of the imagination which give off a light perfume of hashish.
Cook, Bruce. "'A Gothic Western,' He Calls It, and He's Right." The National Observer 14 September 1974: 23.

READ the full text of this review.
Cunningham, Valentine. "Whiskey in the Works." The Times Literary Supplement [London] [3814] 11 April 1975: 389.

READ the full text of this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 57-74.
Dommergues, Pierre. "Richard Brautigan et le Western Gothique." Le Monde les Livres. 24 June 1977: 26.
Says the book is "an enchantment and a farce."
Downing, Pamela. "On the Creation and Use of English Compound Nouns." Language December 1977: 810-842.
Collects and analyzes "non-lexicalized compounds" (noun+noun combinations) from Trout Fishing in America and The Hawkline Monster.
Grubber, John. "Meanwhile—Back in the Jar." Vortex 1(5) May 1977: 47-48.

READ the full text of this review.
Kaye, Sheldon. "Brautigan, Richard, The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western." Library Journal August 1974: 1980.
The full text of this review reads
Brautigan has a real talent for understatement. In addition to creating complete situations in few words, his economy achieves a sensitive kind of dry humor and wisdom. Unfortunately, he is unable to create the living characters it would take to make this "Gothic Western" more of a story and less of an idea. The basic plot is that two gunmen are hired by two sisters to kill a monster who inhabits the lower reaches of their Victorian house. The isolated location of the house and the fact that it is built over an ice cave make it a crazy dwelling. The monster is suggestive of the underlying mythological elements of the story: a journey to a wasteland where a descent into the underworld restores life to the region. These meanings, however, are untrue to a work which mainly strives to avoid profundities. This book is fun to read and it has some substance besides. Recommended despite shortcomings.
Reprinted
"Brautigan, Richard." Library Journal Book Review 1974. Ed. Janet Fletcher. New York: R.R. Bowker Company, 1976. 593.
Kincheloe, Henderson. "The Hawkline Monster." Masterplots 1975 Annual. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1976. 144-146.

READ the full text of this review.

Reprinted
Survey of Contemporary Literature. Revised Edition. 12 vols. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1975. Vol. 5, 3302.
Kušnír, Jaroslav. "Reconsideration of Nature, Myths and Narrative Conventions of Popular Literature in Richard Brautigan's Novel The Hawkline Monster: a Gothic Western (1976), or Gothic Novel and Western in One." American Fiction: Modernism-Postmodernism, Popular Culture, and Metafiction. ibidem-Verlag, 2007: 55-63.
Kušnír is a faculty member at the University of Prešov, Slovakia.

READ the full text of this review.

Feedback from Jaroslav Kušnír
Jaroslav Kušnír. Email to John F. Barber, 14 May 2008.
Lee, L. L. "The Hawkline Monster." Western American Literature 10(2) Summer 1975: 151-153.

READ the full text of this review.
Locklin, Gerald. "A Loony Treat from Brautigan." Independent Press-Telegram [Long Beach, CA] 22 November 1974: A21.

READ the full text of this review.
Nordell, Roderick. "American Gothic Comes of Age." The Christian Science Monitor 8 November 1974: 10.

READ the full text of this review.
Olderman, Raymond M. "American Fiction 1974-1976: People Who Fell To Earth." Contemporary Literature 19(4) Autumn 1978: 497-530.
Says American fiction published between 1974 and 1976 shares a number of concerns: male-female and racial relationships; personal, sexual, racial, political, spiritual, and cosmic betrayal; mutations; synthesis; and re-valuation of work and business. Established writers of this period include James Baldwin, Donald Barthelme, Saul Bellow, Thomas Berger, Kay Boyle, Carlos Castaneda, Samuel Delany, Don DeLillo, E. L. Doctrow, Stanley Elkin, William Gaddis, John Hawkes, Joseph Heller, Jerzy Kosinski, Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy, James Purdy, Ishmael Reed, Tom Robbins, Ronald Sukenick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Richard Brautigan. Their characters are "the people who fell to earth after The Thing That Happened in the Sixties" (498).

Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster is briefly noted, along with Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo, JR by William Gaddis, 98.6 by Ronald Sukenick, The Exile Warning by Vonda McIntyre, and Floating Worlds by Cecelia Holland, as an example of fiction dealing with mutation during this period, but not a mutation leading "happily into the future." Instead, these novels are "extreme extensions of a given negative direction in contemporary culture. They are altered to demonstrate that a path pursued too long becomes a route to death. They are not necessarily literal mutants, but they serve the function of a mutaion because they represent possible directions of our future" (509-510).

No further discussion of Brautigan's novel is provided.
Prescott, Peter S. "Monster in the Cellar." Newsweek 9 September 1974: 82-83.

READ the full text of this review.

Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.
Pétillion, Pierre Yves. "Des Fjords Pluvieux du Nord-Ouest." Critique: Revue Géneéale des Publications Français et Etrangères. 31(338) 1975: 688-695.
Review of Revenge of the Lawn and The Hawkline Monster from a French perspective.
Quintana, Juan. "Monstruo de Hawkline: Un Western Gotico" [The Hawkline Monster: A Western Gothic]. Nueva Estafeta [New Courier] (30) May 1981: 102-103.

READ this review.
Sage, Lorna. "The Edge of Hysteria." Observer 6 April 1975: 30.
Reviews The Goddess and other Women by Joyce Carol Oates, Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, Women in the Wall by Julia O'Faolain, and The Hawkline Monster by Brautigan.

The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
Both Joyce Carol Oates and Julia O'Faolian have a grudge against innocence, and refuse to believe in it. Cormac McCarthy plays at it. But Richard Brautigan has, somehow, kept his: The Hawkline Monster, subtitled "A Gothic Western," is disarmingly funny, cross-breeding two improbabilities to produce a bizarre, engrossing nonsense. A line of Brautigan's from Trout Fishing in America, about a Negro lady, always seemed to encapsulate his attitude to the ready-made categories lying in wait for him:—
She used the word yes to its best advantage, when surrounded by no meaning and left alone from other words.
And with this book he's still making space for himself, nimble, quizzical, enthralled by sheens you get when you introduce mad scientist to hired gun, or for that matter tea to cowboys. Perhaps most characteristically, he has contrived his own asymmetrical arrangement out of the irritable old polarities—right and left, evil and good . . . Susan and Jane.
Sale, Roger. "Fooling Around, and Serious Business." The Hudson Review 27 (Winter) 1974-1975: 623-635.

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Sarcandzieva, Rada. Precistvastijat Smjah Na Ricard Brotigan. Cudovisteto Hoklan; Edno Sombrero Pada Ot Nebeto. [The Purifying Light of Richard Brautigan in Monster and Sombrero.] Sofia: Narodna Kultura, n.d.
A review from a Bulgarian perspective.
Slethaug, Gordon E. "The Hawkline Monster: Brautigan's 'Buffoon Mutation'." The Scope of the Fantastic—Theory, Technique, Major Authors: Selected Essays from the First International Conference on the Fantastic in Literature and Film: Culture, Biography, Themes, Childrens Literature. Eds. Collins, Robert A. and Howard D. Pearle, III. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985. 137-145.

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Tani, Stefano. "L'Esperimento del Professor Hawkline: Case Stregate e Sogno Americano da Brown a Brautigan." Miscellanea 5 1984: 45-79.
Discusses the haunted house theme in American literature.
Turner, William O. "An Acid-Rock Western." Seattle Post Intelligencer 15 September 1974: F10.

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Willis, Lonnie L. "Brautigan's 'The Hawkline Monster': As Big As the Ritz." Critique 23(2) Winter 1982: 37-47.
Notes concern with failed American dreams and illusions that have distorted the national vision and examines a sense of futility shared with Scott Fitzgerald's "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz." Says,
[I]nvestigates the failure of the American experience to harmonize expectation and reality, and it calls attention to illusions that have distorted the national vision. . . . Brautigan's reader, being aware that Professor Hawkline's dream is the dream of America will perceive how unlikely the prospect is of maintaining the harmony of expectation and reality when Hawkline's monster's shadow falls between them.
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Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 42. Eds. Daniel G. Marowski and Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 48-66.
Wordsworth, Christopher. "Cassandra Syndrome." Guardian Weekly 12 April 1975: 21.
Reviews The Goddess and other Women by Joyce Carol Oates, Women in the Wall by Julia O'Faolain, and The Hawkline Monster by Brautigan.

The full text of the reference to Brautigan reads
A summary of Richard Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster, described as a Gothic western, would run roughly thus: two professional gunmen with hearts of gold are propositioned by an Indian cutie named Magic Child to lay a ghost in the Oregon Dead Hills. After being layed herself expeditiously, Magic Child dies, which hardly matters, since her double materializes who is also the double of the Chatelaine whose manor is built above a labyrinth of ice, whose giant butler is magicked into a dwarf, whose father has been turned into a hat-stand by the resident monster which sounds like a combination of waterfall barking dog, and drunk parrot, but is really—enough.

Of the Brautigan who wrote Trout Fishing in America little is left by now, just a cute Cheshire-kitten smile and that ubiquitous monosyllable coyly dimpling every page. Not so much artless as pointless, and whatever it is that a cult figure has to do to embarrass the faithful, it has surely been done with a thud.
Yohalem, John. "Cute Brautigan: The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western." The New York Times Book Review 8 September 1974, Sec. 7: 6-7.

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Reprinted
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Ed. Carolyn Riley. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1976. 67-72.

A comic-style narrative by Rebecca Dart

"Hawkline Suite" recording by Saint Etienne
Davis, Robert Murray. Playing Cowboys: Low Culture and High Art in the Western. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992. 60, 64-71, 154.
In the chapter titled "Gothic Space and the Disintegration of the Hero," Davis says Brautigan is one of novelists who embodies
the countervision of the West in which the plains, without obvious forms of definition, threaten the mind because they give it nothing to reflect on or perhaps they reflect nothing to the mind and thus expose its emptiness. (60)
Defines Westerns as the obvearse of gothic, which usually takes place
indoors in large, complex, and ancient structures that embody as well as house aristocratic authority, always presented as decayed and usually as decadent. (60)
Notes Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western as an example of a more playful use of gothic to explore the psyche, outlines and critiques the plot, and concludes "what is left is modern, not Western, space, not imaginative or invigorating space" (71).
The gothic world of The Hawkline Monster is seen from the outside; contrasted with conventional Western, if desert, space; and subjected to rational or at least conventional control. (71)
Davis ultimately concludes that the danger with playing cowboy is staying in the role too long, "as in the case of Brautigan's gunmen," and becoming bewildered, "without any direction or role to play or an audience to play to" (154).

Reviews
Brown, Jeffrey P. "Playing Cowboys: Low Culture and High Art in the Western." The Historian: A Journal of History 55(2) Winter 1993: 379-380.
Davis notes the incorporation of the Western into fantasy gothic themes through such works as Richard Brautigan's Hawkline Monster, E. L Doctorow's Welcome to Hard Times, and John Hawkes' Beetle Leg. He observes that Western experiences can easily be incorporated into contemporary interpretations of a mad, self-destructive world. (380)