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Allen Ginsberg & The Beat Generation. Beat Generation  Beat writers (Beat Generation): A group of American poets and novelists who were active and influential.

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Presentation on theme: "Allen Ginsberg & The Beat Generation. Beat Generation  Beat writers (Beat Generation): A group of American poets and novelists who were active and influential."— Presentation transcript:

1 Allen Ginsberg & The Beat Generation

2 Beat Generation  Beat writers (Beat Generation): A group of American poets and novelists who were active and influential in the late 1950s.  Beat writers rejected the prevailing social mores.  Feeling oppressed by the dominant culture, they held and publicly advocated anti-intellectual, anti-political, and, in general, antiestablishment views.

3 Beat Generation  Beat Generation applies to those who came of age just after World War II and who revoked against the dominant political and social culture of that complacent and materialistic era by acting in various ways, like riding motor-cycles, smoking marijuana.  The Beat movement of the 1950s had considerable influence on the 1960s and 1970s idea of counterculture.  During this later era, the connotations of Beat expanded to include the rebellious rhythms of rock ’n’ roll (The Beatles).

4 Beat Generation The character played by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) typifies the feeling of oppression felt by the members of the Beat Generation. The character played by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) typifies the feeling of oppression felt by the members of the Beat Generation. More recently, "poetry slams”-- readings and recitations of aggressive personal poetry on college campuses and in urban coffeehouses and bars -- have signaled a revival of Beat poetry. More recently, "poetry slams”-- readings and recitations of aggressive personal poetry on college campuses and in urban coffeehouses and bars -- have signaled a revival of Beat poetry. Henry Rollins, former lead vocalist for the punk rock band Black Flag, has figured significantly in this revival. Henry Rollins, former lead vocalist for the punk rock band Black Flag, has figured significantly in this revival.

5 The origin of the term Jack Kerouac first used the term "Beat Generation" in his talk with John Clellon Holmes (1926~1988) about the implications of the Lost Generation and existentialism in Jack Kerouac first used the term "Beat Generation" in his talk with John Clellon Holmes (1926~1988) about the implications of the Lost Generation and existentialism in Then The New York Times carried an article entitled "This Is the Beat Generation" in Then The New York Times carried an article entitled "This Is the Beat Generation" in The word "Beat" is originally a jazz term for rhythm. When it applies to the Beats, it can mean beaten down, destroyed, demolished. The Beats were beaten down The word "Beat" is originally a jazz term for rhythm. When it applies to the Beats, it can mean beaten down, destroyed, demolished. The Beats were beaten down

6 Emergence Many people associate the Beat Generation of the first half of the 1950s with crime, delinquency, immorality, and amorality. Many people associate the Beat Generation of the first half of the 1950s with crime, delinquency, immorality, and amorality. Even some professors and critics feel sorry that the high ideal of the Beats became very degenerate in practice. Even some professors and critics feel sorry that the high ideal of the Beats became very degenerate in practice. Although the Beat Generation is all history now, it remains an important chapter in American literature. Although the Beat Generation is all history now, it remains an important chapter in American literature. The Beat Generation was a social phenomenon rather than an artistic one. The great emphasis was on the way people lived, the way the Beats lived. They also produced important literature, but the rebellion in life style of these people was an important part of the time.. The Beat Generation was a social phenomenon rather than an artistic one. The great emphasis was on the way people lived, the way the Beats lived. They also produced important literature, but the rebellion in life style of these people was an important part of the time..

7 Background The 1950s and early 1960s were in the social tradition of American romantic revolt. American romantic revolt means the individual as opposed to society. The 1950s and early 1960s were in the social tradition of American romantic revolt. American romantic revolt means the individual as opposed to society. The basic trust was in the power of the individual, and anything that was done by society as a group was down-graded. The basic trust was in the power of the individual, and anything that was done by society as a group was down-graded. The Beats just wanted to drop out from society. They did not accept any conventions or general rules because they believed that the power should go to the individual. The Beats just wanted to drop out from society. They did not accept any conventions or general rules because they believed that the power should go to the individual.

8 Characteristics 1. They denied the ready-made interpretation of human behavior, and they were drawn to aspects of human experiences that were ignored by all the sciences or condemned by society. They were drawn to the idea of breaking control and getting out of one's ordinary head, partly for joy, partly for the sake of new perception. 2. The Beats rejected middle class values, commercialism, and conformity. The Beats were interested in excessive experiences, in the extreme, because they held that a man who puts himself outside the law is a man who puts himself into himself.

9 Characteristics 3. The Beats withdrew from politics and from the obligations of citizenship. They gave up on the system completely and turned inward to the individual life. 4. The Beats rejected universities and the academic tradition. 5. The Beats evolved a free, non-materialistic religion with no formal church, but based loosely on the teaching of Buddha, comprising love, gay, and anarchy. 6. The Beats regarded modern American life as so cruel, selfish, and impersonal that writers and artists were being driven to madness.

10 Representatives Novelists: William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac. Novelists: William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac. Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) is the best-known novel produced by a Beat writer. Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) is the best-known novel produced by a Beat writer. Poets: Allen Ginsberg,Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Poets: Allen Ginsberg,Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Allen Ginsberg ’ s “ Howl" (1956) is a central Beat achievement in its breathless, chanted celebration of the down-and-out and the subculture of drug addicts, social misfits, and compulsive wanders. Allen Ginsberg ’ s “ Howl" (1956) is a central Beat achievement in its breathless, chanted celebration of the down-and-out and the subculture of drug addicts, social misfits, and compulsive wanders.

11 Representatives The following lines are taken from Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl" : The following lines are taken from Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl" : I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night....

12 A Supermarket in California 1. All through the poem, the speaker is addressing to Walt Whitman. Is this poem about Whitman or about modern America? 2. If Whitman is alive today, do you think he would frequent the supermarket? Why or why not? 3. What is speaker ’ s reaction to modern America?


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