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32+ Works 4,470 Members 21 Reviews

About the Author


Works by Ann Charters

The Portable Beat Reader (Viking Portable Library) (1992) — Editor — 1,451 copies
Kerouac: A Biography (1973) — Author — 397 copies
The Portable Sixties Reader (2002) — Editor; Contributor — 319 copies
Kerouac: Selected Letters: Volume 1 1940-1956 (1995) — Editor — 256 copies
Beats & Company (1986) 18 copies

Associated Works

On the Road (1957) — Introduction, some editions — 27,426 copies
Three Lives (1909) — Introduction, some editions — 1,711 copies
Scattered Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series) (1989) — Editor — 444 copies
City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 345 copies
Kerouac: Selected Letters: Volume 2: 1957-1969 (1999) — Editor — 184 copies
Speed; And, Kentucky Ham (1993) — Introduction, some editions — 139 copies
The Poetry of the Blues (1963) — Photographer — 51 copies


1001 (94) 1001 books (86) 1950s (149) 20th century (336) America (163) American (382) American fiction (94) American literature (644) anthology (326) autobiography (107) beat (1,117) Beat Generation (698) beat literature (141) beatnik (93) biography (222) classic (425) classics (395) counterculture (66) drugs (128) essays (66) fiction (2,772) Jack Kerouac (125) Kerouac (201) letters (71) literature (720) memoir (201) modernism (64) non-fiction (261) novel (474) own (117) paperback (67) poetry (365) read (322) road trip (267) Roman (72) short stories (220) to-read (988) travel (510) unread (156) USA (257)

Common Knowledge



There are some earth-shattering works of fiction here - Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych", Ellison's "Battle Royale", Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been". The anthology is arranged alphabetically, so there is a thematic randomness if you read it straight through. The variety of modern and contemporary stories reveal one common trait of genius writers - the ability to observe the human scene.
jonbrammer | 2 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
A classic photo archive.
John_Hughel | Jun 23, 2022 |
As an anthology, The Portable Beat Reader excellently showcases the 'best' work of 'The Beat Writers' of the 1950’s and later. Its contents include poems, short stories, and selections from lengthier works. The title of the book probably accurately describes its content.
I read the book as a part of required reading for a class in which I enrolled. Beat Writers have never resonated with me and I generally dislike their work. I took the class hoping that if I understood the work and the creators of it a little better, I might come to understand and like their works. Both the class, the professor, and this book thoroughly explained Beat Writing and its particular niche in literature. The teacher presented the writers, which he thinks highly of, as "ahead of their time."
Frankly, for me, their nichę is still the trash-can.
Now that I understand them, I dislike them even more than I had.
I do have more accurate insights into these writers and this is what I now understand about them.
1. They were a group of self-righteous and arrogant people blessed with natural talent but too lazy to do the work that would develop their talent into actual literary skill.
2. Instead of working on becoming serious writers, they chose to admire their own drivel and then fruitlessly justify it to people who actually understand what good writing is. They did succeed in self-delusion, however, and succeeded in finding publishers with poor judgment.
3. They regularly and vociferously bemoaned how misunderstood they were. This perception of their work shows that, in addition to being arrogant, they were delusional.
4. Some writers today even attempt this same kind of poor craftsmanship. Avoid them! Even poor writers are better than writers who believe themselves good in spite of the evidence.

What these writers needed rather than hapless publishers and foolish book-buyers was a qualified sophomore high school composition teacher, a different occupation that they'd actually be good at, a lesson in the difference between talent and vanity, and a good stout spanking.
… (more)
PaulLoesch | 9 other reviews | Apr 2, 2022 |
Read during a two-week sojourn at MIT and Cambridge, MA.
sfj2 | 1 other review | Mar 15, 2022 |



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