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The Gonzo Text – The Literary Journalism of Hunter Thompson
Journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson is credited with the creation of a unique style of journalism conventionally termed 'Gonzo' journalism, founded on a reflexively self-aware subjectivity and an exuberantly excessive prose style. As a prominent figure in the American counter-cultures of the 1960s and 70s he is associated with extreme anti-authoritarian politics and unapologetic drug-use.
My research uses the quixotic example of 'Gonzo' as a case study through which to interrogate ideas of the boundaries of journalism and theories of the hybrid concept of literary journalism, with particular reference to the problem of 'objective' journalism. The theoretical framework for this interrogation is constructed through the utilisation of concepts of authorship, mimesis and subjective experience itself, taken from the works of post-structuralist thinkers such as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida.
A particular focal point of this enquiry is the theorisation of discourses of 'drugs' and how 'drugs', as cultural object, myth and symbol, become entangled in the Texts of so-called 'drug culture(s)', leading into an examination of how the ideas of 'drugs', as a point of cultural instability, can be seen to influence wider-discourses of cultural politics and ideologies.