and the beat goes on.

by internalison

The Beat Generation is a term used to desribe a small group of American writers – most notably Allen Ginsberg, William Burrough and Jack Kerouac – who came to prominence in the 1950s, and the cultural phenomena they inspired.  Their works highlighted the primacy of ‘Beat’ essentials, such as spontanetiy, open emotion and an intuitive engagement in worldly experiences.

Topics of drug use, sexuality and anomalous behavior pushed the fence of acceptability in the conformist era.  The drug usage was termed experimental, in that the members were generally unfamiliar with their effects.  Their assumed ability to ehance creativity, insight or production resulted in the belief that the drugs in use were a key influence on the social events of the time.

The Beats had a large influence on rock and roll, due to the collaboration and mutual inspiration with major figures such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison.  The rebellious rockstar image is in many ways analogous of the Generation.  It is a widespread supposition that The Beatles used an ‘a’ to spell their name as a Beat Generation reference (The Beat-les).  Both Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison cite Kerouac, On The Road, as a major influence.

“Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own.  We were all three, I suppose.” — Ginsberg, Howl.

– by Alison