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The Beat Generation and Counterculture

Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac

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Raj Chandarlapaty

The Beat Generation and Counterculture examines three authors associated with the «Beat Generation» – Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac – and the relevance of their attempt to travel, learn, and write about exotic non-Western cultures and repressed minority cultures in the United States, projecting the influence of history, premodern religious practices, and postcolonial social and intellectual problems into the written development of countercultural ethos and praxis. The Beat Generation and Counterculture underscores T. S. Eliot’s emphasis on «earning tradition – that is, in order for the corrupt, decultured, and unimaginative West that had been ruined by World War II to survive, it would have to internalize and project the value of distant cultures that had been misunderstood and racialized for centuries. This book also addresses the frequent criticism that these authors were «orientalist», white writers who freely translated non-Western culture without giving any credit to its creators.