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This essay explores the publishing history surrounding Oscar Zeta Acosta’s The Revolt of the Cockroach People (1973) by examining two key paratextual elements: the introduction to the 1989 reprint edition, supplied by Hunter S. Thompson, and the illustrated cockroaches inserted throughout the narrative by Straight Arrow Books designer Jon Goodchild. It examines Acosta’s tandem efforts to employ and destabilize the singular identity at the heart of Chicano nationalism through the figure of the cockroach, and it suggests that such strategic essentialism is also at the heart of the publishing process.

It argues that Acosta combatively collaborates with his friends and publishers in order to ensure literary survival.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.