Seeing things like Hunter: Ralph Steadman's cartoon visions as revelatory masks in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Hunt, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-1985-4351, 2019. Seeing things like Hunter: Ralph Steadman's cartoon visions as revelatory masks in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In: J. Curcio, ed., Masks: Bowie and artists of artifice. Bristol: Intellect. ISBN 9781789381085 (Forthcoming)

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Masks are well known for their ability to reveal as well as conceal (Tseelon 2001). Ralph Steadman’s cartoons for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), which include numerous images of Hunter S. Thompson’s alter-ego ‘Raoul Duke’, create a kind of mask. Illustrations in novels bring to light key qualities of the text, creating a doubling effect by enhancing core elements within the writing whilst simultaneously adding something new (Miller 1992). Steadman’s cartoons both reveal and extend Thompson’s identity as an ‘outlaw journalist’ (Thompson 2000), similar to the way masks can evoke the ‘essential nature’ (Brook 1987) of their wearers. Thompson and Steadman’s work is a highly effective fusion of the linguistic and the visual. Literary qualities of rhythm, form and expression find a visual equivalence in Steadman’s use of line and gesture. In addition to drawing upon theories of word and image (Miller 1992; Mitchell 1994, 1996) and the mask as revelatory, transgressive and carnivalesque (Tseelon 2001; Bahktin 1968, 1981), this article also explores crossmodality between Thompson’s writing and Steadman’s cartoons. Crossmodality describes occasions when one form of sensory experience generates (or corresponds with) a response in another sense (Deroy and Spence 2016). Exploring the shared vision between Steadman and Thompson, whereby Steadman ‘saw the thing in pictures as he [Thompson] saw it in words’ (Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood 1978), will provide insight into the revealing and mask-like qualities of Steadman’s drawings as well as their role in defining Thompson’s persona and the ‘gonzo’ style.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Hunt, K.
Publisher: Intellect
Place of Publication: Bristol
Date: 8 August 2019
ISBN: 9781789381085
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 29 Oct 2019 16:54
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 11:50

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