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The Beat Generation

Critical Essays

It has been fifty years since the Beats first came upon the literary scene and although the academy’s hostility toward the Beats has not completely abated, it has certainly diminished. Today mainstream publishers are adding many Beat titles to their lists, and students of Beat literature can draw upon a wealth of critical resources that have been published in the last twenty years. The fourteen critical essays gathered in this collection verify that Jack Kerouac is still the undisputed king of the Beats followed by William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. At the same time, however, the Beat movement is shown to be broader and more far reaching than previously thought, encompassing names such as Oscar Zeta Acosta and William Kotzwinkle and even suggesting influences on contemporary German literature in authors like Wolf Wondratschek, Rolf Dieter Brinkman, and Jörg Fauser.
Contents: Robert Bennett: Teaching the Beat Generation to Generation X – Ann Douglas: Telepathic Shock and Meaning Excitement: Kerouac’s Poetics of Intimacy – Ronna C. Johnson: «You’re putting me on»: Jack Kerouac and the Postmodern Emergence – Erik R. Mortenson: Beating Time: Configurations of Temporality in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road – Steve Wilson: The Author as Spiritual Pilgrim: The Search for Authenticity in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and The Subterraneans – Nancy McCampbell Grace: A White Man in Love: A Study of Race, Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Jack Kerouac’s Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Tristessa – Fiona Paton: Reconceiving Kerouac: Why We Should Teach Doctor Sax – Douglas G. Baldwin: Word Begets Image and Image Is Virus: Undermining Language and Film in the Works of William S. Burroughs – Timothy S. Murphy: Intersection Points: Teaching William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch – Terence Diggory: Allen Ginsberg’s Urban Pastoral – Jaap van der Bent: «O fellow travelers I write you a poem in Amsterdam»: Allen Ginsberg, Simon Vinkenoog, and the Dutch Beat Connection – Robert Kern: Mountains and Rivers Are Us: Gary Snyder and the Nature of the Nature of Nature – A. Robert Lee: Chicanismo’s Beat Outrider? The Texts and Contexts of Oscar Zeta Acosta – Robert E. Kohn: The Ambivalence of Kotzeinle’s Beat and Bardo Ties – Anthony Waine/Jonathan Wooley: «Blissful, Torn, Intoxicated»: Brinkmann, Fauser, Wondratschek, and the Beats.