Beat Generation

literary movement

The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s. The central elements of Beat culture are the rejection of standard narrative values, making a spiritual quest, the exploration of American and Eastern religions, the rejection of economic materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature. Both Howl and Naked Lunch were the focus of obscenity trials that ultimately helped to liberalize publishing in the United States. The members of the Beat Generation developed a reputation as new bohemian hedonists, who celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity. The core group of Beat Generation authors — Herbert Huncke, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Kerouac — met in 1944 in and around the Columbia University campus in New York City. Later, in the mid-1950s, the central figures, with the exception of Burroughs and Carr, ended up together in San Francisco, where they met and became friends of figures associated with the San Francisco Renaissance. In the 1960s, elements of the expanding Beat movement were incorporated into the hippie and larger counterculture movements. Neal Cassady, as the driver for Ken Kesey's bus Further, was the primary bridge between these two generations. Ginsberg's work also became an integral element of early 1960s hippie culture.
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movement: Beat Generation

26

Author

Jack Kerouac cover

photo credits: CC-BY-SA-2.0

Jack Kerouac

American writer

works

39

On the Road

1957 novel by American writer Jack Kerouac

author: Jack Kerouac

1957

The Dharma Bums

novel by Jack Kerouac

author: Jack Kerouac

1958

The Subterraneans

novel by Jack Kerouac

author: Jack Kerouac

1958

Big Sur

novel by Jack Kerouac

author: Jack Kerouac

1962

Lonesome Traveler

novel by Jack Kerouac

author: Jack Kerouac
illustrator: Larry Rivers

1960

Author

Charles Bukowski cover

photo credits: Artgal73 - CC-BY-2.5

Charles Bukowski

American writer (1920-1994)

Author

Allen Ginsberg

American poet

Author

Arthur W. Saha

American editor

Author

Amiri Baraka cover

photo credits: CC-BY-2.0

Amiri Baraka

African-American writer

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