Fear and Loathing Worldwide: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Hunter S. Thompson



For more than 40 years, the radically subjective style of participatory journalism known as Gonzo has been inextricably associated with the American writer Hunter S. Thompson. Around the world, however, other journalists approach unconventional material in risky ways, placing themselves in the middle of off-beat stories, and relate those accounts in the supercharged rhetoric of Gonzo. In some cases, Thompson's influence is apparent, even explicit; in others, writers have crafted their journalistic provocations independently, only later to have that work labelled "Gonzo." In either case, Gonzo journalism has clearly become an international phenomenon.

In Fear and Loathing Worldwide, scholars from fourteen countries discuss writers from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australia, whose work bears unmistakable traces of the mutant Gonzo gene. In each chapter, "Gonzo" emerges as a powerful but unstable signifier, read and practiced with different accents and emphases in the various national, cultural, political, and journalistic contexts in which it has erupted. Whether immersed in the Dutch crack scene, exploring the Polish version of Route 66, following the trail of the 2014 South African General Election, or committing unspeakable acts on the bus to Turku, the writers described in this volume are driven by the same fearless disdain for convention and profound commitment to rattling received opinion with which the "outlaw journalist" Thompson scorched his way into the American consciousness in the 1960s, '70s, and beyond.

Product Details

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date
January 23, 2020
6.0 X 0.73 X 9.0 inches | 1.03 pounds
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About the Author

Robert Alexander is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at Brock University, Ontario, Canada. A former reporter, his academic work has appeared in Literary Journalism Studies, Language and Communication, Semiotic Inquiry/Recherches Sémiotiques, and Criticism.

Christine Isager is Associate Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her studies in the field of written communication in general and literal journalism in particular have appeared in Rhetorica Scandinavica, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Journalistica, and Literary Journalism Studies.


"Hunter Thompson once told a young audience in Boulder, Colorado, not to trust him. He 'used to test drugs at Rolling Stone Magazine, ' for heaven's sake. Don't trust anyone, he said. Go find out for yourself. His advice has been taken by the contributors to this volume, which revives the legacy of the good Doctor of Journalism all around the world." --Norman Sims, author of True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism