Post Road Magazine #18

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Rudolph Wurlitzer's Infinite West by Michael Miller

For forty years now, novelist and screenwriter Rudolph Wurlitzer has been dipping into a grab bag of influences—John Ford Westerns, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the French nouveau roman, the brutal history of American expansion—and fashioning them into exquisite works of originality. All along, he has inspired a mix of cultish devotion and extreme bafflement. The devotion is easy enough to chronicle. When his first novel, Nog, was published by Random House in 1968, Thomas Pynchon declared, "It's more than a beautiful and heavy trip, it's also very important in an evolutionary way, showing us directions we could be moving in." (The Gravity's Rainbow author also wrote, perhaps less presciently, that it was hopefully a sign that "the Novel of Bullshit is dead.") Nog, which fused Samuel Beckett syntax and hippie-era freakouts to cast a deranged eye on the road-trip genre popularized by Jack Kerouac, also caught the attention of director Monte Hellman, who hired Wurlitzer to write the screenplay for his movie Two Lane Blacktop. Just before the film opened in 1971, Esquire ran the entire script in its April issue.....more

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