of the USA in the 50's
probably come across the terms Beat Generation and beatnik
before, but do you know much more about them?
Introduce Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg into the
picture, and you might get a better idea.
formerly married to Neal, has just visited Nottingham Trent University.
She was invited by the Department of English and Media to deliver
an inaugural talk in the New Lecture Theatre.
provided a personal insight into the lives of the trio, dubbed by
the media as the classic Beat Generation.
Ginsberg and others have become legendary figures on the landscape
of twentieth-century literature.
And it looks
as though their story will be told for years to come, especially
since Francis Ford Copolla owns the film rights to Kerouacs
famous novel, On the Road.
understand more about the beat writers, you need to
embark on an imaginary journey to the USA back in the 1950s.
arrive in the era of Elvis Presley and James Dean.
highway played its part in 'On the Road'.
The USA has
emerged from the ravages of the Second World War and entered an
economic boom. It hopes for lasting prosperity.
At the same
time, the country has become paranoid about threats from outside,
most notably Communism.
The USA also
craves a stable centre. It tries to impose on its citizens a set
of social norms. They include marriage, an urban lifestyle
and a steady nine to five office job.
backdrop stood Kerouac and other young Americans - especially males
- who had literally grown up during the war. They struggled to identify
with the new social order and rebelled against convention.
The term beat
had been used on the jazz scene in the late 1940s when the
likes of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker were in their prime. It
referred to someone on the periphery of society who was dead
beat or beaten.
borrowed these negative connotations and added a more positive one,
the image of the off-beat and rootless American in his
novel, On the Road (1957).
His work is
based upon a real life journey across America, undertaken by Kerouac
himself with Neal Cassady. In the novel, Cassadys voice informs
Read about Carolyn Cassadys perspective in the Myths