Thomas Donald Hawkins (January 11, 1927 – September 23, 1988) was an American writer who is the probable author of the Wanda Tinasky letters, once widely thought to be the work of novelist Thomas Pynchon.
Hawkins graduated in 1950 from the University of Washington with a degree in English. He married Kathleen Marie Gallaner and worked for Boeing (as did Pynchon) in the early fifties, then in Beaumont, Texas in television, for station KFDM, and in advertising. In 1960, Hawkins moved to San Francisco to join the Beats, supporting himself as a postal worker.
After his work was rejected by local Beat publications, he took to self-publishing under the name "Tiger Tim" Hawkins. As a fan of William Gaddis, Hawkins discovered newspaper, the self-published Gaddis fansheet of "jack green". He became convinced that green was Gaddis, a detail that would show up in the Tinasky letters. Tinasky also claimed, "The novels of William Gaddis and Thomas Pynchon were written by the same person".
After Hawkins retired, he and Kathleen moved to Mendocino County just outside Fort Bragg,where they lived in poverty for most of the eighties. Hawkins engaged in petty scams and thefts, and took to disguising himself. Kathleen came into an inheritance and bought a car for herself and a pickup truck for her husband. She also bought a kiln, and began a promising career in pottery.
Hawkins was born in Pangburn, Arkansasand grew up in Port Angeles, Washington.
Wanda Tinasky, ostensibly a bag lady living under a bridge in the Mendocino County area of Northern California, was the pseudonymous author of a series of playful, comic and erudite letters sent to the Mendocino Commentary and Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA) between 1983 and 1988. These letters were later collected and published as The Letters of Wanda Tinasky. In them, Tinasky weighs in on a variety of topics – most notably local artists, writers, poets and politicians – with an irreverent wit and literate polish at odds with her apparently straitened circumstances.
The harshness of the attacks was deemed excessive by the Commentary early on, and, as a result, most of the remaining letters appeared in the AVA. At the time, the identity of Tinasky was completely unknown, and subject to much local speculation. Tinasky was thought by many to be Thomas Pynchon, but is now widely believed to be Tom Hawkins.
Three weeks after the last (according to Shakespeare scholar and "literary detective" Don Foster) authentic Wanda Tinasky letter, Tom Hawkins bludgeoned his wife Kathleen to death, and kept her body inside their house, unburied. After several days, he set fire to their house and drove her car off a cliff into rocky shoals, killing himself.
At the time, no one connected the end of Tinasky with the Hawkins' murder–suicide. Indeed, this event didn't altogether stem the flow of Tinasky's invective: at least one "copycat" letter, by Foster's account, had been published while Hawkins was alive, and these continued to trickle out for a short time after his death.
Using textual analysis, Foster made a strong case that Hawkins was Wanda Tinasky from Hawkins' printed works.
From 1962 through 1964, Hawkins published Freak, a fanzine that he printed with a mimeograph machine under the aegis of his own Ahab Press.
In 1963, Hawkins (as "Tiger Tim Hawkins") self-published a paperback book that sold for $1 entitled Eve, the Common Muse of Henry Miller & Lawrence Durrell, that also addressed Gaddis and green. Hawkins insisted that Gaddis and green were the same person. In the Tinasky letters, Hawkins continued to insist that Gaddis and green were one and the same, and also claimed that Gaddis/green had written the works of Pynchon. In 1986, Hawkins as Tinasky again claimed that jack green "...did pretty well in the auctorial line with novels published commercially under the names of William Gaddis & Thomas Pynchon."
Foster also came across a 1964 second edition of a polemic Hawkins (as "Tim Hawkins") had published against Paul Krassner, publisher of The Realist , entitled Paul Krassner, The Realist, & $crap: Plus a P.S. on it. The ampersand and the "P.S." were evocative of the Tinasky letters.
Foster's case for Hawkins being Wanda Tinasky was sealed when the person who had bought Hawkins' former home sent Foster correspondence, personal papers and news clippings she had found.
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. is an American novelist noted for his dense and complex novels. His fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, genres and themes, including history, music, science, and mathematics. For Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon won the 1973 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.
Lawrence George Durrell was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. He was the eldest brother of naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell.
Karen S. Hesse is an American author of children's literature and literature for young adults, often with historical settings. She won the Newbery Medal for Out of the Dust (1997).
William Thomas Gaddis, Jr. was an American novelist. The first and longest of his five novels, The Recognitions, was named one of TIME magazine's 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005 and two others, J R and A Frolic of His Own, won the annual U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. A collection of his essays was published posthumously as The Rush for Second Place (2002). The Letters of William Gaddis was published by Dalkey Archive Press in February 2013.
Paul Krassner was an American author, journalist, and comedian. He was the founder, editor, and a frequent contributor to the freethought magazine The Realist, first published in 1958. Krassner became a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s as a member of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and a founding member of the Yippies, a term he is credited with coining. He died on July 21, 2019, in Desert Hot Springs, California.
Wanda Tinasky, ostensibly a bag lady living under a bridge in the Mendocino County area of Northern California, was the pseudonymous author of a series of playful, comic, and erudite letters sent to the Mendocino Commentary and the Anderson Valley Advertiser between 1983 and 1988. These letters were later collected and published as The Letters of Wanda Tinasky. In them, Tinasky weighs in on a variety of topics—most notably local artists, writers, poets, and politicians—with an irreverent wit and literate polish. The harshness of the attacks was deemed excessive by the Commentary early on, and, as a result, most of the remaining letters appeared in the AVA. At the time, the identity of Tinasky was completely unknown, and was subject to much local speculation. Tinasky was thought by many to be novelist Thomas Pynchon until it was demonstrated that Tinasky was likely an obscure Beat Generation poet named Tom Hawkins.
Donald Wayne Foster was a professor of English at Vassar College in New York. He is now retired. He is known for his work dealing with various issues of Shakespearean authorship through textual analysis. He has also applied these techniques in attempting to uncover mysterious authors of some high-profile contemporary texts. As several of these were in the context of criminal investigations, Foster was sometimes labeled a "forensic linguist". He has been inactive in this arena, however, since Condé Nast settled a defamation lawsuit brought against one of his publications for an undisclosed sum in 2007.
Little Blue Books are a series of small staple-bound books published from 1919 through 1978 by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company of Girard, Kansas. They were extremely popular, and achieved a total of 300-500 million booklets sold over the series' lifetime. A Big Blue Book range was also published.
Postmodern literature is a form of literature that is characterized by the use of metafiction, unreliable narration, self-reflexivity, intertextuality, and which often thematizes both historical and political issues. This style of experimental literature emerged strongly in the United States in the 1960s through the writings of authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, William Gaddis, Philip K. Dick, Kathy Acker, and John Barth. Postmodernists often challenge authorities, which has been seen as a symptom of the fact that this style of literature first emerged in the context of political tendencies in the 1960s. This inspiration is, among other things, seen through how postmodern literature is highly self-reflexive about the political issues it speaks to.
The Recognitions is the 1955 debut novel of US author William Gaddis. The novel was initially poorly received by critics. After Gaddis won a National Book Award in 1975 for his second novel, J R, his first work gradually received new and belated recognition as a masterpiece of American literature.
Cavalier is an American magazine that was launched by Fawcett Publications in 1952 and has continued for decades, eventually evolving into a Playboy-style men's magazine. It has no connection with the Frank Munsey pulp, The Cavalier, published in the early years of the 20th century.
Tim Ware is an American composer and musician, born in Sacramento, California. He is also the owner of HyperArts, a Web design and development company located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Oakland, California.
David Levering Lewis is an American historian, a Julius Silver University Professor, and a professor of history at New York University. He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, for part one and part two of his biography of W. E. B. Du Bois. He is the first author to win Pulitzer Prizes for biography for two successive volumes on the same subject.
The Realist was a magazine of "social-political-religious criticism and satire", intended as a hybrid of a grown-ups version of Mad and Lyle Stuart's anti-censorship monthly The Independent. Edited and published by Paul Krassner, and often regarded as a milestone in the American underground or countercultural press of the mid-20th century, it was a nationally-distributed newsstand publication as early as 1958. Publication was discontinued in 2001.
Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis was a Greek writer, widely published as a poet, novelist and playwright since 1939; his correspondence with George Seferis was a bestseller. Raised within a cosmopolitan family with roots in the Greek War of Independence but twice driven into exile by events, Valaoritis lived in Greece, the United Kingdom, France and the United States, and as a writer and academic he played a significant role in introducing the literary idioms of each country to the rest. The quality, the international appeal, and the influence of his work led Valaoritis to be described as the most important poet of the Hellenic diaspora since Constantine Cavafy.
Steven Moore is an American author and literary critic. Best known as an authority on the novels of William Gaddis, he is also the author of the two-volume study The Novel: An Alternative History.
Margarita Engle is a Cuban American poet and author of many award-winning books for children, young adults and adults. Most of Engle's stories are written in verse and are a reflection of her Cuban heritage and her deep appreciation and knowledge of nature. She became the first Latino awarded a Newbery Honor in 2009 for The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom. She was selected by the Poetry Foundation to serve from 2017 to 2019 as the sixth Young People's Poet Laureate. On October 9, 2018, Margarita Engle was announced the winner of the 2019 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature. She was nominated by 2019 NSK Prize jury member Lilliam Rivera.
jack green is the pseudonym of Christopher Carlisle Reid, an American literary critic who was a great defender of the work of William Gaddis. Reid—who took the name from a racing form after he quit his job to become a freelance critic—particularly admired Gaddis' 1955 novel The Recognitions, which flopped upon being published. Reid believed that the commercial failure of the hardcover edition of Gaddis' novel was the result of it having been panned by literary critics. Reid's faith in Gaddis was borne out when The Recognitions was chosen as one of TIME magazine's 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005.
The following is a bibliography of Henry Miller by category.
While in Mendocino, [Pynchon] may or may not have written a series of letters to the Anderson Valley Advertiser under the name Wanda Tinasky.