Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons, and Impact
by William Lawlor
The coverage of this book ranges from Jack Kerouac's tales of freedom-seeking Bohemian youth to the frenetic paintings of Jackson Pollock, including 60 years of the Beat Generation and the artists of the Age of Spontaneity. Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Poetry readings in Greenwich Village cafes. City Lights bookstore. Timothy Leary's psychedelic community. Allen Ginsberg's writings composed under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. How did a handful of struggling writers and poets on the fringe of American culture in the 1940s launch a movement that continues to influence society? Beat Culture captures in a single volume six decades of cultural and countercultural expression in the arts and society. It goes beyond other works which are often limited to Beat writers like William Burroughs, Charies Bukowski, and Michael McClure, to cover a wide range of musicians, painters, dramatists, filmmakers, and dancers who found expression in the Bohemian movement known as the Beat Generation. Top scholars from the United States, England, Holland, Italy, and China analyze a vast array of topics including sexism, misogny, alcoholism and drug abuse within Beat circles; the arrest of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti on obscenity charges; Beat dress and speech; and the Beat "pad." Through more than 200 entries that travel from New York to New Orleans, from San Francisco to Mexico City, students, scholars, and those interested in popular culture will taste the era's rampant freedom and experimentation, explore the impact of jazz on Beat writings, and discover how Beat behavior signaled events such as the sexual revolution, the peace movement, and environmental awareness.