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This Is the Beat Generation: New York-San…
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This Is the Beat Generation: New York-San Francisco-Paris

by James Campbell

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James Campbell's This is the Beat Generation is a good, if perhaps excessively East Coast-centric, overview of the beats. The New York bias means that Gary Snyder, far and away the most impressive of the bunch, gets slighted, though one applauds Campbell's recognition of William Burroughs as the most original of the East Coasters, and perhaps of the whole gang. Campbell's style, too, is attractive. He opts to write interestingly rather than pedantically and never quite falls into the trap of parodying in his own prose the artists about whom he's writing.
  dcozy | May 31, 2011 |
This book contains some stories around Howl that I haven't read in other places. See Carl Solomon's reaction, pp. 191-193. Indexed.
  HowlAtCLP | Dec 14, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0520230337, Paperback)

Beginning in New York in 1944, James Campbell finds the leading members of what was to become the Beat Generation in the shadows of madness and criminality. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs had each seen the insides of a mental hospital and a prison by the age of thirty. A few months after they met, another member of their circle committed a murder that involved Kerouac and Burroughs as material witnesses.
This book charts the transformation of these experiences into literature, and a literary movement that spread across the globe. From "The First Cut-Up"--the murder in New York in 1944--we end up in Paris in 1960 with William Burroughs at the Beat Hotel, experimenting with the technique that made him notorious, what Campbell calls "The Final Cut-Up."
In between, we move to San Francisco, where Ginsberg gave the first public reading of Howl. We discover Burroughs in Mexico City and Tangiers; the French background to the Beats; the Buddhist influence on Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and others; the "Muses" Herbert Huncke and Neal Cassady; the tortuous history of On the Road; and the black ancestry of the white hipster.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:59 -0400)

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