beat generation

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beat generation,

term applied to certain American artists and writers who were popular during the 1950s. Essentially anarchic, members of the beat generation rejected traditional social and artistic forms. The beats sought immediate expression in multiple, intense experiences and beatific illumination like that of some Eastern religions (e.g., Zen BuddhismZen Buddhism,
Buddhist sect of China and Japan. The name of the sect (Chin. Ch'an, Jap. Zen) derives from the Sanskrit dhyana [meditation]. In China the school early became known for making its central tenet the practice of meditation, rather than adherence
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). In literature they adopted rhythms of simple American speech and of bop and progressive jazz. Among those associated with the movement were the novelists Jack KerouacKerouac, Jack
(John Kerouac) , 1922–69, American novelist, b. Lowell, Mass., studied at Columbia. One of the leaders of the beat generation, a term he is said to have coined, he was the author of the largely autobiographical novel On the Road
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 and Chandler Brossard, numerous poets (e.g., Kenneth RexrothRexroth, Kenneth,
1905–82, American poet, critic, and translator, b. South Bend, Ind. A resident of San Francisco, he was briefly associated with the beat generation, although he disdained their lack of discipline.
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, Allen GinsbergGinsberg, Allen
, 1926–97, American poet, b. Paterson, N.J., grad. Columbia, 1949. An outspoken member of the beat generation, Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem attacking American values in the 1950s.
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, Lawrence FerlinghettiFerlinghetti, Lawrence
, 1919–, American author and publisher, b. Yonkers, N.Y. In 1951 he moved to San Francisco and helped found the City Lights Bookshop, which became a center for writers of the beat generation.
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, and Gregory Corso), and others, many of whom worked in and around San Francisco. Perhaps the only true nihilist of the group was William S. BurroughsBurroughs, William Seward,
1914–97, American novelist, b. St. Louis, grad. Harvard, 1936, moved to New York City, 1943. He was an elder member of the beat generation.
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. During the 1960s "beat" ideas and attitudes were absorbed by other cultural movements, and those who practiced something akin to the "beat" lifestyle were called "hippies."


See B. Cook, The Beat Generation (1971, repr. 1982), J. Tytell, Naked Angels (1976, repr. 1991), E. H. Foster, Understanding the Beats (1992), D. Sterritt, Mad to Be Saved: The Beats, the 50s, and Film (1998), and J. Campbell, This Is the Beat Generation (2001); film documentary, The Source (1999).

References in periodicals archive ?
For example, one must determine whether a Beat Generation actually exists.
Still, Miles tells us, Kerouac will be remembered for three things: he chronicled the activities of the Beat Generation, he resolved the American experience (particularly in On the Road) and condensed it into fast-moving prose, and he proposed an alternative to such soulless American phenomena as conspicuous consumerism, giant automobiles, split-level houses, and suburban conformism.
Though each represents a wide array of women of the beat generation (26 by Knight, 27 by Peabody, fifteen of which they share in common), Peabody's emphasis is clearly on the poetry and prose itself.
As people who could manipulate words and images, the poets, writers and artists who made the Beat generation a cultural force were as different and distinct as their imaginations, yet linked by their willingness to wear their convictions.
The format is a silent set, with music and a voice-over narration in which Jack Kerouac, improvising off the last act of his play The Beat Generation, delivers a long laconic sneer--at the ineradicable bourgeois tendencies of the wife, dragging her innocent, as-yet-unspoiled son off to school to rot his brain with nonsense like "astrono .
The participants represented 40 countries from around the world and included a variety of people, from a stay-at-home dad and a world-class snowboarder to an ex-gang member and an 81-year-old Beat Generation poet.
Jack Kerouac Poetry For The Beat Generation / Blues and Haikus EMI ***
No one is missing in this comprehensive encyclopedia covering all major and peripheral figures of the Beat Generation as well as the culture and history of the era.
SHOULD Jack Kerouac's classic On The Road be described as a "hippy bible" even though it was about the beat generation (Page 12, Wednesday)?
Fascinated by circles, finding them a source of "fomenting revolutionary change," in Birth of the Beat Generation he traces the Beat course.
RECORDING PACKAGE: ``Big Bad Voodoo Daddy''; ``Los Super Seven''; ``Ray of Light''; ``Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation,'' Chika Azuma; ``Yield,'' Ames Bros.
City Lights is of course the bookstore of which he is co-owner; it achieved truly international fame after it published Allen Ginsberg's Howl in 1956 and became a center of the Beat Generation.