chapter  6
19 Pages

fan identifi cation

There is a change of emphasis from writerly concerns, modernist and outsider representations of Charles Bukowski and the beat writers, to a postmodern focus on the consumer, plurality and dialogue. What the ‘text’ means to the reader is evaluated initially with reference to theoretical notions of readerly texts, reader response and interpretive communities. This initiates a study of the reader as fan, which introduces notions of gratifi cation, reverence and performativity. There is an exploration of how fans mimic the object of their adoration through discourses of embodiment, emplacement and the reenactment of texts including more abstruse concerns related to spectacle and narcissism. Bukowski has a wide readership and adoring fan base who construct an imaginary relationship with him which is analyzed using psychosocial and cultural discourses. This includes how fans identify with his East Hollywood haunts and lifestyle, particular artefacts and language which enable fantasy reenactment, another trajectory of cultural meaning. But he was ambivalent and inconsistent towards his fans, which experiences he then wrote about. There is a double game enacted by fans embodying stereotype fan pathology constructed as ‘loser’ to realize their antihero, a practice that is not without irony.