A Guide to an American Subculture
Born in the wake of World War II, and reaching expressive peaks during the otherwise staid 1950s, the Beat Generation was the first in American history to defiantly break from the past and point the way forward for young Americans. Every subculture to emerge since owes a debt to the beats, who left an indelible mark on American history.
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This is a revealing look at the events and personalities that defined the Beat Generation, drawing on over three decades of research.
Beatniks: A Guide to an American Subculture gets readers past the caricature of the "beatnik" as a goateed, beret-wearing, bongo-playing poseur, drawing on extensive research to show just how profound an impact the beats had on American culture, politics, and literature.
Beatniks conveys the complexity, influences, events, and places that shaped the Beat Generation from the late 1940s to the cusp of the 1960s. The book also features a series of essays on specific aspects of the subculture, as well as interviews with Beat Generation luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, Ann Charters, Roy Harper and Michael McClure. Throughout, readers will meet an extraordinary gallery of people both famous—Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady—and lesser known but no less fascinating, including Kenneth Patchen, Lord Buckley, Mort Sahl, Jack Micheline, Lew Welch, Joan Vollmer Adams, and Lenore Kandel. Also included is a detailed glossary with the origins and meanings of the beat lingo.
- Includes original interviews with such Beat Generation luminaries as Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Ann Charters, and Roy Harper.
- Offers an annotated bibliography containing a discography, recommended reading, viewing and listening tips, and locations and descriptions of available archives for future scholars
- Offers a serious, respectful, yet wildly entertaining look at the generation that paved the way for youth culture in the United States
- Covers the entirety of the beatnik scene, including film, television, music, fashion, lingo, and literature
- Focuses on specific scenes where the beatnik subculture flourished, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Black Mountain, N.C., Venice, Calif., New Orleans, and elsewhere
- Author Info
"A historian of American culture and art, Bisbort profiles the first counter-culture generation to be branded by modern marketing. He describes the origins of the beat generation during World War II, how the beats turned into beatniks, the emergence of a beatnik voice, and the spread of the phenomenon from Manhattan to the US and the world. Support material includes a timeline, biographical sketches, a glossary, lists of movies and magazines, and lists of precursors and progeny."
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