Tag Archives: Ginsberg

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THE BEATS-PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED PHOTOS OF LARRY FINK

THE BEATS-PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED PHOTOS OF LARRY FINK

The Beats: Previously Unpublished Larry Fink Photos

In 1958, Larry Fink — the photographer best-known today for celebrity portraits in magazines like Vanity Fair and GQ — was an 18-year-old college dropout. He moved from his native Long Island to Greenwich Village, and decided to hitchhike across the country with the second generation of Beat artists. “It was my fate to be aligned with the Beats because of my propensity for drugs, anger, and poetry,” Fink writes in The Beats, a new book of previously unpublished photography from his 1958 and 1959 travels. “Since they were second generation, without the same sense of immortal obsession such as the like of Kerouac and Ginsberg, they had a distinct need to be documented.”

Despite confessing that his traveling companions “did not like me much,” (a fact he attributes to his Marxist upbringing), Fink traveled with artists like Amiri Baraka and Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy) from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Houston and Mexico, and back to Chicago and Cincinnati. “They desperately needed a photographer to be with them, to give them gravity, record and encode their wary but benighted existence,” he reflects. Click through the slideshow for a look at the intimate, glamorous, and gritty photographs that resulted.

Larry Fink will speak at the Strand in New York on May 21 to celebrate the book’s release.

THE BEATS-PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED PHOTOS OF LARRY FINK

Beat Quotes

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Beat Quotes

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Beat Quotes

This is a good sized list of quotes by or pertaining to a beat author. Some of them are very deep, some of them all funny, and some make no sense whatsoever. Enjoy.


“There is no line between the ‘real world’ and ‘world of myth and symbol.’ Objects, sensations, hit with the impact of hallucination.”
-William Burroughs

“I’m running out of everything now. Out of veins, out of money.”
-William Burroughs

“Strip your psyche to the bare bones of spontaneous process, and you give yourself one chance in a thousand to make the Pass.”
-William Burroughs

“The charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power.”
-Jack Kerouac’s favorite line from On The Road

“Rather, I think one should write, as nearly as possible, as if he were the first person on earth and was humbly and sincerly putting on paper that which he saw and experienced and loved and lost; what his passing thoughts were and his sorrows and desires.”
-Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac

“Americans should know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls.”
-Walt Whitman

“Neal, we’ll be real heroes now in a war between our cocks and time: let’s be the angels of the world’s desire and take the world to bed with us before we die.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Cassady on their sexual relation…lines from the poem The Green Automobile

“If you have a choice of two things and can’t decide, take both.” -Gregory Corso “The stone world came to me, and said Flesh gives you an hour’s life.”
-Gregory Corso

“If you believe you’re a poet, then you’re saved.”
-Gregory Corso

“In such places as Greenwich Village, a menage-a-trois was completed- the bohemian and the juvenile delinquent came face-to-face with the Negro, and the hipster was a fact in American life.”
-Norman Mailer

“Madness is confusion of levels of fact…Madness is not seeing visions but confusing levels.”
-William Burroughs

“I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac

“Sure I’m old, and I’m evil, and I’m ugly, and I’m tired. But that isn’t it. I’ve been this way for ten years, and I’m all down the main line.”
-Herbert Huncke to Allen GInsberg

“Neal will leave you in the cold anytime it’s in his interest.”
-LuAnne Cassady (the 15 year old bride of Neal Cassady)

“Oh, smell the people!’ yelled Dean with his face out the window, sniffling. ‘Ah, God! Life!’”
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road

“Obviously the ‘purpose’ of the trip is carefully selected to symbolize the basic fact of purposelessness. Neal is, of course, the very soul of the voyage into pure, abstract meaningless motion. He is The Mover, compulsive, dedicated, ready to sacrifice family, friends, even his very car itself to the necessity of moving from one place to another.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg on Neal and his skeptical views of the man and voyage which spurred On The Road

“Love is all.’
-Jack Kerouac

“I went with him for no reason.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“What’s your road, man? -holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”
-Neal Cassady as Dean Moriarty in On The Road

“Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?”
-Jack Kerouac, on the final gathering/Snyders going away party

“The omlet fell apart, as with such eggs it must.”
-Wilifrid Sheed, on the San Francisco Renaissance Poets

“I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.”
-William Burroughs

“Ginsby boy, he’s all over Oregon like horseshit howling his dirty pome.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg

“I am beginning to think he is a great saint, a great saint concealed in a veneer of daemonism.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg

“We are all trying to get the exact style of ouuselves.”
-Michael McClure on the San Francisco Renaissance

“To rebel! That is the immediate objective of poets! We can not wait and will not be held back…The “poetic marvelous” and the unconscious are the true inspirers of rebels and poets.”
-Philip Lamantia

“Around Jack there circulated a palpable aura of fame and death.”
-Gary Snyder on Jack Kerouac

“I want to create wilderness out of empire.”
-Gary Snyder

“I’m beat to the square, and square to the beat, and that’s my vocation.”
-William Everson aka Brother Antoninus

“We had gone beyond a point of no return- and we were ready for it, for a point of no return…We wanted voice and we wanted vision.”
-Michael McClure

“A reading is a kind of communion. The poet articulates the semi-known for the tribe.
-Gary Snyder

“I want your lingual SPONTINEITY or nothing else.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg after reading Howl

“An army is an army against love.”
-Peter Orlovsky

“At that instant we looked into eachother’s eyes and there was a kind of celestial cold fire that crept over us and blazed up and illuminated the entire cafeteria and made it an eternal place.”
-Allen Ginsberg to William Burroughs on his new lover Peter Orlovsky

“I’ve been getting silly drunk again lately in Remo and discusting myself a la Subterraneans.”
-Jack Kerouac to William Burroughs

Jack Kerouac’s Translations of Buddhist Terms
Dharma: “truth law”
Nirvana: “blown-out-ness”
Tathata: “that which everything is”
Tathagata: “attainer to that which everything is”
Bodhisattva-Manasattvas: “beings of great wisdom”

“Kerouac’s version of Buddha is a dimestore incense burner, glowing and glowering sinisterly in the dark corner of a Beatnik pad and just thrilling the wits out of bad little girls.”
-Kenneth Rexroth

“I miss you so much your absence causes me, at times, accute pain. I don’t mean sexually. I mean in connection with my writing.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“I did no think I was hooked on him like this. The withdrawl symptoms are worse than the Marker habit. Tell Allen I plead guilty to vampirism and other crimes against life. But I love him and nothing else cancels love.”
-William Burroughs to Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg

“I have a strange feeling here of being outside any social context.”
-William Burroughs in Tangiers

“Not that Irwin wasn’t worthy of him but how on earth could they consumate this great romantic love with vaseline and K.Y.?”
-Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg and Burroughs relationship

“Between incomprehensible and incoherent sits the madhouse. I am not in the madhouse.”
-Jack Kerouac to Carl Solomon.

“I think all writers write for an audience. There is no such thing as writing for yourself.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Usually he selected someone who could not reciprocate so that he was able-cautiously, like one who tests uncertain ice, though in this case the danger was not that the ice give way but that it might hold his weight-to shift the burden of not loving, of being unable to love, onto the partner.”
-Willam Burroughs on himself

“Avoid the world, it’s just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end.”
-Jack Kerouac

“Al, I am a fucking saint, that is I been fucked by the Holy Ghost and knocked up with Immaculate Woid…I’m the third coming, me, and don’t know if I can do it again….so stand by for the Revelation.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Suffice to say I just eat every 12 hours, sleep every 20 hours, masturbate every 8 hours and otherwise just sit on the train and stare ahead without a thought…”
-Neal Cassady

“Wherever I go I see myself in a mirror- it used to be my own selfblood, now it is god’s.”
-Allen Ginsberg

“Never deny the voice- no, never forget it, don’t get lost mentally wandering in other spirit worlds or American or job worlds or advertising worlds or earth worlds.”
-Allen Ginsberg’s vow to himself

“I want to be a saint, a real saint while I am young, for there is so much work to do.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Mark Van Doren

“The apparition of an evil, sick unconscious wild city rose before me in visible semblance, and about the dead buildings in the barren air, the bodies of the soul that built the wonderland shuffled and stalked and stalked and lurched in attitudes of immemorial nightmare all around.”
-Allen Ginsberg (his visions after reading Blake)

“I was so sick that I found myself worrying about the future of man’s soul, my own in paticular.”
-Allen Ginsberg

“Just a little boy who wants to be a novelist.”
-Alan Ansen’s description of Jack Kerouac

“Death hovers over my pencil…”
-Jack Kerouac

Pinned to Jack Kerouac’s wall to inspire his writing: “Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life.”
-Nietzsche

“I am going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.”
-Jack Kerouac

“The fact was I had the vision…I think everyone has…what we lack is the method.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg

“I detest limitations of any kind, and intend to establish my ass some place where I am a virgin on the police blotter.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Naturally, I thought the guy was just kiddin.”
-Herbert Huncke, on Burrough’s request for a Viennese waltz

“Shooting is my principal pastime.”
-William Burroughs

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
-Jack Kerouac to Neal Cassady

“Two piercing eyes glancing into two piercing eyes- the holy con-man with the shining mind, and the sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind.”
-Kerouac on the night Ginsberg and Cassady met

“I really dont know how much I can be be satisfied to love you, I mean bodily, you know, I somehow dislike pricks & men & before you, had conciously forced myself to be homosexual…I dont want to be unconsciously insincere by passing over my non-queerness to please you.”
-Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg on their sexual relationship

“Dont you remember how you made me stop trembling in shame and drew me to you? Don’t you know what I felt then, as if you were a saint…?”
-Allen Ginsberg to Neal Cassady

“Neal is awareness, mine is conciousness. The conciousness is shallow, awareness is all embracing.”
-Allen Ginsberg on Neal Cassady

“He came to the door stark naked and it might have been the President knocking for all he cared. He received the world in the raw.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“I have thought of Neal as being a psychopath for quite some time. To me he is nothing more than a series of incidents.”
-John Clellon Holmes to Ginsberg

“I see no greatness in my self…I’m a simple-minded, child-like, insipid sort of moronic and kind of akward feeling adolescent.”
-Neal Cassady on himself

“I became the unnatural son of a few score of beaten men.”
-Neal Cassady

“For Neal sex was the one and only holy and important thing in life.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“Cassady was sexually initiated at the age of nine. He accompanied his father to the home of a drinking buddy, whose oldest son led his brother and Neal in sexual intercourse with as many sisters as they could hold down. All boundaries of sexual decorum evaporated. Neal “sneak shared” women with his father, he slept with grandmothers and prepubescent girls in abandoned buildings, barns, and public toilets.”
-Steven Watson, Birth of the Beat Generation

“I alone, as the sharer of their way of life, presented a replica of childhood.”
-Neal Cassady

Email: haesuse@aol.com

THE BEAT GENERATION

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THE BEAT GENERATION

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THE LAST GATHERING OF BEATS POETS & ARTISTS

THE LAST GATHERING OF BEATS POETS & ARTISTS, CITY LIGHTS BOOKS North Beach, San Francisco 1965

Lawrence Ferlinghetti wanted to document the 1965 Beat scene in San Francisco in the spirit of the early 20th century classic photographs of the Bohemian artists & writers in Paris.The Beats, front row L to R: Robert LaVigne, Shig Murao, Larry Fagin, Leland Meyezove (lying down), Lew Welch, Peter Orlovsky.

Second row: David Meltzer, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Daniel Langton, Steve (friend of Ginsberg), Richard Brautigan, Gary Goodrow, Nemi Frost.

Back row: Stella Levy, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Because this is a vertical image about half of the Beats attending are not shown.

Allen Ginsberg, Bob Donlon (Rob Donnelly, Kerouac’s Desolation Angels), Neal Cassady, myself in black corduroy jacket, Bay Area poets’ “Court Painter” Robert La Vigne & poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of his City Lights Books shop, Broadway & Columbus Avenue North Beach. Donlon worked seasonally as Las Vegas waiter & oft drank with Jack K., Neal looks good in tee shirt, Howl first printing hadn’t arrived from England yet (500 copies), we were just hanging around, Peter Orlovsky stepped back off curb & snapped shot, San Francisco spring 1956, 1956, gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 11 1/8 x 16 3/4 in. (28.3 x 42.6 cm), National Gallery of Art, Gift of Gary S. Davis. © 2012 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.

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“He looked by that time like his father, red-faced corpulent W.C. Fields shuddering with mortal horror…” Thus reads the inscription of a photo depicting American icon Jack Kerouac and taken by Allen Ginsberg in 1964 — just a few years before the former’s death. Far from the exuberant youth depicted in earlier photos, this portrait offers an entirely different image of Kerouac: that of the aging alcoholic, slumped dejectedly in a battered armchair.

Beat Memories presents an in-depth look at the Beat Generation  as seen through the lens of Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997). Although well known for his poetry, Ginsberg was also an avid photo- grapher, capturing the people and places around him in spontaneous, often intimate snapshots. His black-and-white photographs include portraits of William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and others, along with self-portraits. The images not only are revealing portrayals of celebrated personalities, but also convey the unique lifestyle and spirit of the Beats

The Beat movement, also called Beat Generation, American social and literary movement originating in the 1950s and centred in the bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village. Its adherents, self-styled as “beat” (originally meaning “weary,” but later also connoting a musical sense, a “beatific” spirituality, and other meanings) and derisively called “beatniks,” expressed their alienation from conventional, or “square,” society by adopting an almost uniform style of seedy dress, manners, and “hip” vocabulary borrowed from jazz musicians. Generally apolitical and indifferent to social problems, they advocated personal release, purification, and illumination through the heightened sensory awareness that might be induced by drugs, jazz, sex, or the disciplines of Zen Buddhism. Apologists for the Beats, among them Paul Goodman, found the joylessness and purposelessness of modern society sufficient justification for both withdrawal and protest.

Beat poets sought to liberate poetry from academic preciosity and bring it “back to the streets.” They read their poetry, sometimes to the accompaniment of progressive jazz, in such Beat strongholds as the Coexistence Bagel Shop and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. The verse was frequently chaotic and liberally sprinkled with obscenities but was sometimes, as in the case of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), ruggedly powerful and moving. Ginsberg and other major figures of the movement, such as the novelist Jack Kerouac, advocated a kind of free, unstructured composition in which the writer put down his thoughts and feelings without plan or revision—to convey the immediacy of experience—an approach that led to the production of much undisciplined and incoherent verbiage on the part of their imitators. By about 1960, when the faddish notoriety of the movement had begun to fade, it had produced a number of interesting and promising writers, including Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder, and had paved the way for acceptance of other unorthodox and previously ignored writers, such as the Black Mountain poets and the novelist William Burroughs.

In January 1949, Jack Kerouac failed to appear for an afternoon date with a woman called Pauline

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In January 1949, Jack Kerouac failed to appear for an afternoon date with a woman called Pauline

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Road Ready

‘The Voice Is All,’ by Joyce Johnson

By  JAMES CAMPBELL
Published: January 18, 2013    

In January 1949, Jack Kerouac failed to appear for an afternoon date with a woman called Pauline. He had told Allen Ginsberg he planned to marry her — “the finest woman I’ll ever know” — once she had unshackled herself from her truck-driver husband, who, according to Joyce Johnson, was accustomed to “slapping her around to keep her in line.” In the meantime, Kerouac began an affair with Adele Morales (later to become the second Mrs. Norman Mailer). His failure to keep the rendezvous with Pauline, however, had nothing to do with affection for Adele; rather, he had overslept after a night of sex games with Luanne Henderson, whom Jack’s muse Neal Cassady had married when she was 15, and who, according to their friend Hal Chase, was “quite easy to get . . . into bed.” The tryst had been engineered by Cassady, who was hoping to watch, Johnson says, to show Luanne, by then 18, “how little she meant to him.” Two days later, Kerouac called on Ginsberg and found Luanne “covered with bruises from a beating Neal had given her.” Johnson describes Kerouac as “shocked” by the sight; nevertheless, “they all went out to hear bebop,” partly financed by money stolen by Cassady. In response to being jilted, Pauline confessed her affair to her husband, who tried to burn her on the stove. Kerouac described her in his journal as a “whore.” All the while, Ginsberg can be heard in the background: “How did we get here, angels?”

Collection of Allen Ginsberg, via Sotheby’s

Jack Kerouac in his Columbia University football uniform, 1940s.

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THE VOICE IS ALL

The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac

By Joyce Johnson

489 pp. Viking. $32.95.

Related

This is an everyday story of the Beat Generation in late-1940s New York, a tale of crazy mixed-up kids who took a lot of drugs, dabbled in criminality — with two homicides among the statistics — lapsed into madness, were fond of identifying one another as “saints, saints,” but often had the barest notion of what it means to respect the individuality of other human beings. Yet three members of the inner circle, Kerouac, Ginsberg and William Burroughs, created experimental literary works of remarkable originality — in particular, “On the Road,” “Kaddish” and “Naked Lunch” — which read as freshly today as they did 50 years ago; perhaps, in an instance of that trick that the best art sometimes plays on us, more so.

Kerouac certainly makes a good subject, but there already exist about a dozen biographies (by Ann Charters, Barry Miles, Gerald Nicosia, among others), not to mention memoirs, an oral history — the excellent “Jack’s Book” (1978) — and wider surveys of the Beat Generation. In “Minor Characters” (1983), Johnson wrote about her affair with Kerouac at the time of publication of “On the Road.” She now steps back to a period of Kerouac’s life with which she has no direct acquaintance, tracing the story from his origins in a French Canadian family in Lowell, Mass., to New York in 1951, where the book ends with a rare citation from ­Kerouac’s journals: “I’m lost, but my work is found.”

Johnson justifies the retelling of what is in outline a familiar tale by the fact of having gained access to the vast Kerouac archive, “deposited in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library in 2002.” So far, so good. No large-scale Kerouac biography, so far as I am aware (“The Voice Is All” lacks a bibliography), has appeared since that date. Unfortunately, Johnson was apparently refused permission to quote at length from the journals and working drafts among Kerouac’s papers. The result is a life in paraphrase.

The method gives rise to frustration. In 1945, for example, Kerouac began writing a novel called “I Wish I Were You,” a reworking of the story of the killing of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr in 1944. Together, Kerouac and Burroughs had previously written “And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks,” a collaboration on the same subject that eventually saw the light of day in 2008. According to Johnson, “I Wish I Were You” is a different beast: “In two successive drafts of the first 100 pages, Jack put in all the textural detail that had been left out of ‘Hippos’ and even returned with renewed confidence to the lyricism he had abandoned just the year before. It was really quite brilliant, the best prose he had written so far

about Neal Cassady, poems and recordings

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about Neal Cassady, poems and recordings

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images (41)RARE FOOTAGE OF NEIL CASSADY DRIVING FURTHUR

The Grateful Dead used to let Neal ramble on ( usually while tripping ) between sets. You can hear the beginnings of Lovelight ..I knew I should have wore more paisley
NEAL CASSADY TALKING

Grateful Dead & Neal Cassady July 23, 1967 – Strait Theater – San

Neal Cassady biography
NAME: Neal Cassady
OCCUPATION: Writer
BIRTH DATE: February 08, 1926
DEATH DATE: February 04, 1968
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salt Lake City, Utah
PLACE OF DEATH: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Full Name: Neal Cassady Jr.
AKA: Neal Cassady

Best Known For
Neal Cassady was a key figure of the Beat movement. The character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is based on him.

Synopsis

Born in Utah on February 8, 1926, Neal Cassady became a key figure of the Beat movement and an inspiration to his writer friends. Cassady’s magnetic energy and wild spirit is immortalized in the character based on him, Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Later in life, Cassady joined Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and fell into drugs. He died as a result, on February 4, 1968.

Contents
Synopsis
Early Life
Meeting the Beats
On the Road
Drug Use and Death

Early Life

Neal Cassady Jr. was born on February 8, 1926, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother died when he was 10, and he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Texas. Cassady stole cars, hitchhiked, and was in and out of reform schools. He spent a year in jail at the age of 18.

Meeting the Beats

In 1946, Cassady traveled to New York City to visit a friend at Columbia University. There, he met Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, all of whom were enthralled by Cassady’s energetic persona. He moved to New York City with his 16-year-old wife, LuAnne Henderson, who quickly returned home. Cassady remained in the city, and though he claimed to be straight, began a sexual relationship with Allen Ginsberg. The poet was deeply in love with Cassady; his groundbreaking poem “Howl” calls Cassady a “secret hero.”

Cassady learned how to write fiction from Kerouac, who based the character Dean Moriarty from 1957′s On the Road on his beloved friend.

On the Road

Cassady was relentlessly energetic. His free-flowing, detailed letters to Kerouac heavily influenced the novelist’s style. Cassady’s own prose is characterized by the same breathlessness, but he never finished a book; he struggled to package his ever-expanding ideas into sentences.

In 1947, Cassady met Carolyn Robinson and moved to San Francisco for her. One year later, his marriage to LuAnne was annulled and he wed Carolyn. She had his child, and the family moved to Los Gatos, a suburb of San Jose where Cassady worked on the Southern Pacific railroad.

Cassady was notoriously unfaithful, sometimes cheating with multiple women in a single day. Carolyn also found him in bed with Ginsberg more than once. While she stayed home and raised the couple’s three children, Cassady road-tripped across the country while sleeping with his ex-wife. In 1950, he wed Diana Hansen, a model pregnant with his child, while he was still married to Carolyn. With Cassady’s encouragement, Carolyn eventually had an affair with Kerouac. In his novel Big Sur, Kerouac documents this experience.

Drug Use and Death

In 1958, Cassady was arrested for selling marijuana and served two years in San Quentin Prison. Fed up, Carolyn divorced Cassady in 1963. Afterward, he joined author Ken Kesey and his group, the Merry Pranksters, on a cross-country, drug-filled road trip. Their adventures are detailed in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Heavy drug use ultimately led to Cassady’s death, on February 4, 1968. He was found on railroad tracks after a party in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His autobiography was published posthumously as The First Third.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Neal Cassady biography

1 photo

Quick Facts
NAME: Neal Cassady
OCCUPATION: Writer
BIRTH DATE: February 08, 1926
DEATH DATE: February 04, 1968
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salt Lake City, Utah
PLACE OF DEATH: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Full Name: Neal Cassady Jr.
AKA: Neal Cassady

Best Known For

Neal Cassady was a key figure of the Beat movement. The character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is based on him.

Synopsis
Born in Utah on February 8, 1926, Neal Cassady became a key figure of the Beat movement and an inspiration to his writer friends. Cassady’s magnetic energy and wild spirit is immortalized in the character based on him, Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Later in life, Cassady joined Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and fell into drugs. He died as a result, on February 4, 1968.

Contents
Synopsis
Early Life
Meeting the Beats
On the Road
Drug Use and Death

Early Life

Neal Cassady Jr. was born on February 8, 1926, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother died when he was 10, and he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Texas. Cassady stole cars, hitchhiked, and was in and out of reform schools. He spent a year in jail at the age of 18.

Meeting the Beats

In 1946, Cassady traveled to New York City to visit a friend at Columbia University. There, he met Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, all of whom were enthralled by Cassady’s energetic persona. He moved to New York City with his 16-year-old wife, LuAnne Henderson, who quickly returned home. Cassady remained in the city, and though he claimed to be straight, began a sexual relationship with Allen Ginsberg. The poet was deeply in love with Cassady; his groundbreaking poem “Howl” calls Cassady a “secret hero.”

Cassady learned how to write fiction from Kerouac, who based the character Dean Moriarty from 1957′s On the Road on his beloved friend.

On the Road

Cassady was relentlessly energetic. His free-flowing, detailed letters to Kerouac heavily influenced the novelist’s style. Cassady’s own prose is characterized by the same breathlessness, but he never finished a book; he struggled to package his ever-expanding ideas into sentences.

In 1947, Cassady met Carolyn Robinson and moved to San Francisco for her. One year later, his marriage to LuAnne was annulled and he wed Carolyn. She had his child, and the family moved to Los Gatos, a suburb of San Jose where Cassady worked on the Southern Pacific railroad.

Cassady was notoriously unfaithful, sometimes cheating with multiple women in a single day. Carolyn also found him in bed with Ginsberg more than once. While she stayed home and raised the couple’s three children, Cassady road-tripped across the country while sleeping with his ex-wife. In 1950, he wed Diana Hansen, a model pregnant with his child, while he was still married to Carolyn. With Cassady’s encouragement, Carolyn eventually had an affair with Kerouac. In his novel Big Sur, Kerouac documents this experience.

Drug Use and Death

In 1958, Cassady was arrested for selling marijuana and served two years in San Quentin Prison. Fed up, Carolyn divorced Cassady in 1963. Afterward, he joined author Ken Kesey and his group, the Merry Pranksters, on a cross-country, drug-filled road trip. Their adventures are detailed in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Heavy drug use ultimately led to Cassady’s death, on February 4, 1968. He was found on railroad tracks after a party in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His autobiography was published posthumously as The First Third.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Neal Cassady , ( Feb 8 , 1926 – Feb 4 , 1968 )

San Miguel D’Allende , Mexico
February 4 ,1968 … midnight

Dead from extreme expossure
four days short of forty – two

only fitting , next to a railroad track
He had many words to haul back

The wolf sleeps next to the silver rail
Howling at a silver moon that fell

I hear he drove a topless Cadillac
through San Francisco’s streets

With the top down
smilling free , it was meant to be

Life is a quasar

Daniel Radcliffe, Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Darlings reblogged from LIterary KIcks by Levi Asher

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Daniel Radcliffe, Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Darlings reblogged from LIterary KIcks by Levi Asher

killyourdarlings..

Literary Kicks
Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations
Daniel Radcliffe, Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Darlings

Levi Asher on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:29 pm

Beat Generation, Biography, Film, Indie, Jazz Age, Love, New York City, Reviews, Transgressive
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There are two great cinematic jokes in the new film Kill Your Darlings, two sly references to the dilemma of self-consciousness that this movie about the Beat Generation struggles to overcome. First, it must overcome the suffocating celebrity of Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the poet Allen Ginsberg, and the movie smartly tackles the “hey, there’s Harry Potter” problem right away. The movie opens with teenage Allen cleaning up his parents’ house, jamming to a song on the Victrola, and dancing merrily with a broom.

Kill Your Darlings toys with its literary legacy as well. As several people pitch in to help a mischievous and manipulative Columbia University student named Lucien Carr write a paper about the historian Oswald Spengler, we see a typewriter tapping out immortal words that remind us of another recent Hollywood film: “On … the …”. But then instead of “On The Road”, the words turn out to be “On the Decline of the West”.

Directed by John Krokidas and written by Austin Bunn, Kill Your Darlings is a clever, knowing film about the early exploits of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. It’s lively in the same way that Baz Lurhmann’s Great Gatsby was (though, of course, it’s nowhere near as bombastic), and it whips up a cinematic frenzy of literary inspiration that goes even deeper than Walter Salles’s On The Road or James Franco’s Howl into the ecstatic and Dionsyian mission of the early Beats. The movie has frustrating flaws, but perhaps succeeds mainly through the dedication of the excellent cast, which includes Jennifer Jason Leigh as Ginsberg’s schizophrenic mother, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr and Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs. Daniel Radcliffe’s Allen Ginsberg also works very well, which goes to show that Daniel Radcliffe is good at playing divinely inspired fervent innocents.

I like Radcliffe’s earnest, heartfelt Ginsberg — even though I don’t think he quite captures the weird, powerful presence the famous poet always had (James Franco and other recent Allen Ginsbergs have also failed to capture his strong vibe). Having met and talked to Allen several times, I’ve sometimes struggled to describe his presence and have ended up resorting to the word “froggy”. Allen Ginsberg had a croaking voice, bulging, peeking eyes, a jumpy, crouched stance. His improbable demeanor added to the considerable urgency of his presence. I wish some actor could capture his heavy presence, his odd charisma, but if Allen Ginsberg’s spirit animal is a frog, Daniel Radcliffe’s in this movie turns out to be more like a chameleon or a cute lizard. It’s not the same thing.

The movie is about the early Beats as students in upper Manhattan, and about a murder (Lucien Carr stabbed and drowned an ex-lover) that shook all their friendships and left them all feeling guilty of one crime or another. The murder is less interesting than the blooming friendships, though some long scenes of campus pranks become frivolous and phony (a long sequence involving a library break-in descends to cartoonish storytelling, for no good payoff). At a couple of bad moments, the movie feels like a “Little Archies” of the Beat Generation — familiar faces, but younger and chubbier, with bigger smiles.

But this movie isn’t afraid to be cute, and its brashness is appealing. Kill Your Darlings may someday become a popular midnight double feature with Little Darlings, which presented a parallel vision of teenage girls flirting with danger.

There is much excitement to this movie, but little suspense or revelation. Kill Your Darlings is certainly not a mystery or a thriller. It’s a good college drama like A Separate Peace or Hitchcock’s Rope, or Dead Poets Society or History Boys — like the amazing movie of Donna Tartt’s Secret History which never has been made but hopefully someday will.

The movie stretches too many historical facts in order to wrap up too many psychological angles too neatly. But some of the twists manage to score. Unlike Marc Olmstead in Sensitive Skin, I don’t mind that Kill Your Darlings shows William S. Burroughs and Lucien Carr going wild with cut-ups on a wall years before Burroughs supposedly discovered the cut-up method with Brion Gysin. I like the idea that the idea might have echoed in his head for years. Any historical movie has the right to cut a few facts up in the name of good cinema.

But I do agree with Brian Hassett that the actor who played young Jack Kerouac fails to do much with the role, and that it makes no sense for young Lucien Carr to say “I’ll go to jail for the rest of my life” when in the real life story Jack Kerouac was known to have said “You’ll get the hot seat for this”. Why substitute a boring line for a good one, especially if the good line was historically accurate?

Well — maybe just to piss off cranky old Beats like me. That’s fresh.

Aside

“HOWL” FOR CARL SOLOMON

http://vimeo.com/37570357

Carl Solomon

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Carl Solomon was born March 30, 1928 in the Bronx, New York. His father died in 1939, which depressed him deeply. He graduated high school at the age of fifteen, and enrolled at the City College of New York. In 1943 he dropped out to joined the US Maritime Service. As a seaman, he traveled all over the world, seeing many notable sights such as the surrealist exposition of Andre Breton, Jean Genet’s first play, and hearing Antonin Artaud read poetry. Solomon began reading a lot of Dadaist and Surrealist poetry. Then, after identifying himself with Kafka’s hero, K, Solomon decided that he was insane. Just after his twenty-first birthday, he voluntarily committed himself and recieved shock treatment at the Psychiatric Insitute of New York.

As Solomon was coming up from his shock treatment one day, he mumbled “I’m Kirilov [of Dostoyevsky's The Possessed].” Allen Ginsberg, sitting in the waiting room replied, “I’m Myshkin.” Indeed, Solomon said many interesting things after regaining post-shock consciousness, much of which Ginsberg put into his famous poem, “Howl,” which was dedicated to Solomon. Solomon at first thought he was a new patient, though Ginsberg was only visiting his mother.

Solomon and Ginsberg soon became friends, which was Solomon’s only real claim to fame. Despite his mental conditions, Solomon was very intelligent, and was able to teach ginsberg a lot about important writers and obscure geniuses.

Solomon’s uncle happened to be A.A. Wyn, the publisher of Ace books. When he wasn’t in the hospital, Solomon did work for his uncle. Ginsberg pleaded with him to try to publish his seemingly un-publishable friends William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Ace books ended up signing Burroughs’ Junky as part of a pulp, two-in-one thriller, but they rejected Kerouac’s 120-foot long single page manuscript of On the Road.

Though Solomon was not a writer himself, pepole always thought he was. He did eventually live up to these expectations in 1996, when his first book, Mishaps, Perhaps was published. It was a collection of quaintly psychotic essays including “Pilgrim State Hospital,” and “Suggestions to improve the Public Image of the Beatnik.” Later, two more of his books were published: More Mishaps in 1968, and Emergency Messages in 1989.

http://www.angelfire.com/mo/abalot/solomon.html

Carl Solomon

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, August 24, 1994 08:46 am

CARL SOLOMON

Beat Generation,
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“… who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy …”
(From ‘Howl (for Carl Solomon)’ by Allen Ginsberg)

Yes, Carl Solomon really did throw potato salad during a City College of New York lecture on Dadaism. He and his friends were making an artistic statement by doing this, but years later when Solomon pleaded for a lobotomy to end his psychotic anguish he was not being artistic.

Solomon, born on March 30, 1928 in the Bronx, is mainly famous for having inspired the poem “Howl”, rather than for any achievements of his own. He and Ginsberg met in a waiting room at a psychiatric hospital where Ginsberg was visiting his mother. Solomon was a regular there. Despite his mental problems he had a hyperactive intelligence, and was able to instruct Ginsberg (not exactly a dummy himself) on many literary points, despite the fact that Ginsberg was two years older.

Carl Solomon’s uncle was A. A. Wyn, publisher of Ace paperback books. Carl worked intermittently for his uncle, and Ginsberg pleaded with Carl and his uncle to help publish his then-unpublishable friends William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Ace Books finally used Burroughs’ first novel, ‘Junky,’ as half of a pulp thriller “Two Books In One.” But they were among the many publishers who turned down Kerouac’s ‘On The Road.’

Solomon was never a writer himself, although readers of “Howl” often assumed he was. Later in life he gave in and fulfilled the expectation by writing two book of elliptical, erudite and quaintly psychotic short essays, “Mishap, Perhaps” in 1966 and “More Mishaps” in 1968. His “Emergency Messages,” more in the same vein, was published in 1989.

It’s interesting that Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg each traveled with a “doppelganger” — a mirror image sidekick with less literary training but more “authenticity”. Kerouac had the free-spirited charismatic Neal Cassady and Burroughs had the street smart true junkie Herbert Huncke. Ginsberg, who seemed to always inspire to the state of insanity, had Carl Solomon.

http://www.litkicks.com/CarlSolomon

CARL SOLOMON

Inside the counter-culture: An intimate look at Warhol, Ginsberg and friends through the radical lens of legendary photographer Richard Avedon

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Inside the counter-culture: An intimate look at Warhol, Ginsberg and friends through the radical lens of legendary photographer Richard Avedon

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:          00:59 EST, 18 May 2012       | UPDATED:          01:37 EST, 18 May 2012      

Richard Avedon was one of the most well-known fashion and portrait photographers in American history. However, many of his photographs had a distinctly political flavor.

His work photographing hippies, artists and icons of the beat generation was said to capture their very essence and offer an inside look at the counter-culture in a way that few portrait shooters have been able to match.

A collection of his radical portraits are on display at Gagosian Gallery in New York City this summer.

 
 
Louis Ginsberg and his son Allen Ginsberg
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The counter-culture: Allen Ginsberg, the beatnik poet, was a frequent subject. This work is titled: Louis Ginsberg and his son Allen Ginsberg, poets, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970

 

 
Allen Ginsberg's family
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Allen Ginsberg’s family: Hannah (Honey) Litzky, aunt; Leo Litzky, uncle; Abe Ginsberg, uncle; Anna Ginsberg, aunt; Louis Ginsberg, father; Eugene Brooks, brother; Allen Ginsberg, poet; Anne Brooks, niece; Peter Brooks, nephew; Connie Brooks, sister-in-law; Lyle Brooks, nephew; Eugene Brooks; Neal Brooks, nephew; Edith Ginsberg, stepmother; Louis Ginsberg, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970

Avedon was known for shooting stark, minimalist portraits of his subjects that let their own personalities shine through.

‘A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks,’ he said, according to the Atlantic.

 

 

The beatnik-generation luminary Allen Ginsberg was one of Avedon’s famous subjects. He photographed the poet in 1968 as he embraced and kissed his longtime lover, Peter Orlovsky.

He photographed the Chicago Seven, the protestors who were charged with inspiring a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

 
 
Andy Warhol
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Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969

 

 
Andy Warhol, artist, New York, August 14, 1969
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Andy Warhol, artist, New York, August 14, 1969

Andy Warhol was another subject whom Avedon exposed to his camera lens. He captured the scars on his chest left by a 1968 murder attempt.

Not all of Avedon’s subjects were trend-setters outside the mainstream.

He convinced Rose Mary Woods, President Richard Nixon’s secretary, to stand for a portrait. 

The Mission Council, which helped dictate the US involvement in the Vietnam War, also stood for a photograph. 

Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage in 2004 while on assignment for The New Yorker.

The exhibit, titled Richard Avedon Murals & Portraits, is on  display at Gagosian Gallery, West 21st Street in New York City, through July 6.

The Mission Council
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The Mission Council: Hawthorne Q. Mills, Mission Coordinator; Ernest J. Colantonio, Counselor of Embassy for Administrative Affairs; Edward J. Nickel, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs; John E. McGowan, Minister Counselor for Press Affairs; George D. Jacobson, Assistant Chief of Staff, Civil Operations and Rural Development Support; General Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam; Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker; Deputy Ambassador Samuel D. Berger; John R. Mossler, Minister and Director, United States Agency for International Development; Charles A. Cooper, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs; and Laurin B. Askew, Counselor of Embassy for Political Affairs, Saigon, South Vietnam, April 28, 1971

 

 

 
Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, poets, New York, December 30, 1963
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Lovers: Avedon captured this intimate moment between Ginsberg and his longtime lover. The portrait is titled: Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, poets, New York, December 30, 1963

 

 
Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, New York, August 1, 1969
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Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, New York, August 1, 1969

 

 
Dao Dua, "The Coconut Monk," Mekong Monastery, Phoenix Island, South Vietnam, April 14, 1971
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Dao Dua, “The Coconut Monk,” Mekong Monastery, Phoenix Island, South Vietnam, April 14, 1971

 

 
Rose Mary Woods, secretary to President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C., August 10, 1975
 

Rose Mary Woods, secretary to President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C., August 10, 1975

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146182/Richard-Avedon-exhibition-offers-intimate-look-counter-culture.html#ixzz2sYrUEWSC Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation and a trailer from the movie “On The Road”

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untitled (42)What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation

A new crop of films portrays their lifestyle as rebellious, adolescent fun. But what made the Beats so influential in the first place was that they were radical, free-thinking adults.
Jordan Larson
Oct 16 2013, 1:54 PM ET
Sony Pictures

John Clellon Holmes, author of the seminal Beat Generation novel Go, wrote in 1952 that for the free-spirited rising stars of American literature known as the Beats, “how to live seems to them much more crucial than why.” In those years, young people in the U.S. were in the process of inheriting both economic prosperity and stifling societal mores from their parents. So for many, the Beat Generation of writers—with their stupendous refusal of social and cultural norms and their way of life governed by the pursuit of pleasure, belief, and truth—was a godsend.

Today’s young people experience problems of a bit of a different ilk. Feeling free and adventurous won’t avail you of your student loan debt, poems penned in the days between drug-fueled nights probably won’t make it into your favorite lit mag—and, if they did, you’d probably be asked to write for free anyway, you know, “for the exposure.” But this hasn’t stopped a veritable resurgence over the last few years of Beat obsession, beginning with the film Howl (2010), and continuing with On the Road (2012) and two new films, Kill Your Darlings, in theaters today, and Big Sur, opening November 1. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg—the authors of On the Road and Howl, respectively—have been the focus of two films each.

Given what the Beats meant to young people of the 1950s, perhaps it isn’t so surprising that their culture has been revived for millennial consumption. What teenager or 20-something doesn’t long to drop everything and take a road trip to wherever, with friends and booze and drugs and sex? And in an age when many young people are discovering that young adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, we could use some fun, right? But the current Beat revival arguably goes too far with its re-imagination of the Beat writers’ livelihoods as simple adolescent goofing around—its most prominent writers were, after all, well into their grown-up years when they wrote many of their most notable writings. This crop of films diminishes what was so radical about the Beat Generation in the first place: their iconoclastic approach to life, which extended far beyond their 20s and into adulthood proper.

Conspicuously absent from the latest revival is the third heavyweight of the movement, William S. Burroughs, whose Naked Lunch was adapted into a disturbing and gritty film by David Cronenberg in 1991. The omission perhaps isn’t so surprising: Burroughs credited his awakening as a writer to a 1951 incident in Mexico when he accidentally killed his wife while playing “William Tell,” a bar trick Burroughs invented that involves shooting a glass off someone’s head, so his legacy would likely be a bit harder to spin as one of harmless and youthful adventure.

In casting the authors as eternally and fundamentally adolescent, the recent revival tones down their behavior—both revolutionary and repulsive—as a sort of passing teenage phase.

The exclusion of Burroughs from the Beat revival isn’t the only way the movement has been crafted for optimal consumption, though: Howl and Kill Your Darlings focus on Allen Ginsberg at his most youthful and promising. Kill Your Darlings, in which a baby-faced Daniel Radcliffe plays Ginsberg, tells a little-known tale of murder in the Beats’ group of friends at Columbia University, which ends up bringing the group together. The appeal of the story seems to be that it’s about a set of famous people who may have been involved in a possible murder during their youths, the occurrence of which may or may not explain their genius, or art, or something. In Howl, however, Ginsberg’s collection of poems are the subject of an obscenity trial, and though you’d never guess from James Franco’s youthful appearance as Ginsberg in the film, the author was actually 30 years old when Howl was published.

On the Road, published when Kerouac was 35, seems most susceptible to being reimagined as a series of youthful whims. A recollection of Kerouac’s mid-20s, which he spent traveling with Neal Cassady (known as Dean Moriarty in the book); Neal’s wife, Luanne Henderson; and other Beat figures, On the Road is a paean to recklessness and discovery. Significantly, the film replaces the famous opening line of the book, “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up,” with “I first met Dean not long after my father died,” likely because it interferes with the viewer’s image of carefree and unbridled youth. Scrubbed from the film is any mention of Sal’s age at the time (25) or his stint in the military before attending Columbia. However, the film doesn’t balk at Luanne’s age: characters make numerous references to “Dean’s 16-year-old bride,” known in the book as Marylou.

Sal Paradise, Kerouac’s character in the book, describes Marylou as being “awfully dumb and capable of doing horrible things.” In the morning after Sal’s first all-night meeting with the couple, Dean “decided the thing to do was to have Marylou make breakfast and sweep the floor.” Shortly after, Dean and Marylou have a fight, and Marylou kicks Dean out of their shared apartment. According to Sal, “Dean said she’d apparently whored a few dollars together and gone back to Denver—‘the whore!’” This is all within the first three pages. While Marylou’s character in last year’s film adaptation of On the Road, played by Kristen Stewart, is spared some of the nastier epithets, the story’s misogyny largely lives on unchallenged and uncut. Marylou plays a tiny role in the story, mostly as a “dumb little box” whom Dean and Sal trade around until she gets pregnant and they tire of her.

In casting the authors as eternally and fundamentally adolescent, the recent revival tones down their behavior—both revolutionary and repulsive—as a sort of passing teenage phase, something that young people just sort of do. And in that way, the latest cultural reincarnation both nullifies and excuses the behavior of its leaders. In the end, I’m not sure what’s more offensive—the film’s rampant and unapologetic misogyny or Stewart’s interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, in which she claimed that On the Road told her “that you have to use every second in life. You can’t get complacent and let life pass you by,” as if fathering children and abandoning them is just an essential part of what it means to be free, man.

Pretending Kerouac’s life was some sort of consequence-free dream not only does a disservice to viewers, but to the Beats, as well.

Big Sur, it’s worth noting, is remarkably different from the other films. The film, to its great credit, largely avoids the pitfalls of the others by tackling subject matter that’s less inherently glamorous. An adaptation of Kerouac’s 1962 novel, his first after the publication of On the Road, Big Sur shows Kerouac suffering from the burden of fame and lamenting the fact that he’s no longer young. The film opens with a lightly adapted quote from the novel: “All over America high school and college kids thinking ‘Jack Kerouac is 26 years old and on the road all the time hitchhiking’ while there I am almost 40 years old, bored and jaded.” (Jack Kerouac is known as Jack Duluoz in the book.) The film follows Kerouac as he wanders from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin in Big Sur to San Francisco and back again, usually in the company of several Beats and lady friends. The film crescendos with Kerouac’s alcohol-induced nervous breakdown, accompanied by a sudden epiphany and strangely chipper ending. Though Kerouac behaves much the same way as he did in On the Road, he doesn’t feel the same way: He becomes obsessed with death and drinking, and the narrative seems to comment on the binary of blessed youth and damned old age.

The misogyny of On the Road also figures into Big Sur, and it gets a little harder to stomach as it becomes clear that it’s not just a phase of adolescence, but rather, it’s seemingly central to the life of a Beat writer. A significant portion of the plot revolves around Neal Cassady’s mistress, whom he introduces to Kerouac. Kerouac, in turn, becomes her lover, promises to marry her, and introduces her to Cassady’s wife. He later calls off the marriage, or any form of commitment, leaving his lover to wonder how she’ll take care of herself and her four-year-old son. Unlike in On the Road, these actions finally begin to reflect upon Cassady and Kerouac in negative ways. Their casual womanizing no longer seems like something fun and rebellious to partake in, but like a deep-seated and decidedly unfortunate character flaw.

Overall, while these films are supposed to offer some vintage escapism, their takes ring hollow. Kerouac may have been a tremendous writer, but the enormity of his art is largely left out of the film adaptations. Even for all the dramatic voiceovers of Kerouac’s prose, On the Road and Big Sur are mostly left to work with muddled and problematic plot points. Still, what’s most problematic about these films isn’t their artistry but their authenticity.

Yes, to some extent, the real Kerouac and Cassady will always be remembered as somewhat youthful. Seven years after the publication of Big Sur, Kerouac died of cirrhosis of the liver, nearly 30 years before both Burroughs and Ginsberg died; Cassady died the previous year at the age of 41. But despite the fact that they “died young,” both of them were said to look far older than their years. One could argue that these films are only trying to honor the spirit of the Beat Generation, but can you separate the “essence” of a story or a movement from what its progenitors really said and did, and at what point in their lives? Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac were grown men who were also alcoholics, misogynists, and womanizers who killed themselves with substance abuse. Pretending Kerouac’s life was some sort of consequence-free dream not only does a disservice to viewers, but to the Beats, as well.

Even at its best, the idea of a revelatory and sensual Beat adventure is rather clichéd, but especially so when divorced from the movement’s great and lasting achievements: Their rebelliousness paved the way for the counterculture of the sixties, and artists from Patti Smith to Thomas Pynchon have hailed the Beats’ style of jazz-like improvisation as an influence. The Beats deserve to be celebrated for the way they lived and what they created, not just for how fun and sexy their escapades may have looked.

TRAILER FROM THE MOVIE “”ON THE ROAD”

http://youtu.be/WlZZntvJ8Q4

A literary group, also known as the Beats or the Beat generation

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beatgenerationShown clockwise from left: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Lafcadio Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso in 1956. The Beat movement was characterized by a rejection of the materialism, militarism, consumerism, and conformity of the 1950s, in favor of individual freedom and spontaneity.

Beat Generation

Shown clockwise from left: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Lafcadio Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso in 1956. The Beat movement was characterized by a rejection of the materialism, militarism, consumerism, and conformity of the 1950s, in favor of individual freedom and spontaneity.

Photofest

Literary group, also known as the Beats or the Beat generation, that flourished from the mid-1950s until the early 1960s. Its most prominent members were the novelists John Clellon Holmes (1926-88) and Jack Kerouac (1922-69), and the poets Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919), Philip Whalen (b. 1923), Gary Snyder (b. 1930), and Gregory Corso (1930-2001). William Burroughs (1914-97) was loosely associated with the group, which was mainly located in San Francisco and in Greenwich Village, New York City. Much Beat poetry was published by Ferlinghetti’s “City Lights” imprint, and his “City Lights” bookstore in San Francisco was an important meeting-place for the group. Gregory Stephenson has suggested that the Beat movement had two distinct phases: the “underground,” from 1944 to 1956, and the public, 1956-62.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americannovel/timeline/images/renaissance.gif
Holmes introduced the term “Beat generation” in a 1952 essay on his novel GO (1952), and later Kerouac suggested that “Beat” meant being socially marginalized and exhausted (“beaten down”) and blessed (“beatific”). There are also musical connotations to the name as many members were jazz enthusiasts. Socially the Beats, many of whom were homosexual or bisexual, extolled individual freedom and attacked what they saw as the materialism, militarism, consumerism, and conformity of the 1950s; “America, where everyone is always doing what they ought,” as Kerouac put it in one of Beat’s defining works, the novel ON THE ROAD (1957). To this end they affected nonconformist styles of dress and speech and, avowedly antimaterialist, they cultivated mystical experiences by the use of drugs or by meditation — many members developed an interest in forms of mysticism and in Zen Buddhism. The Beats were politically radical, and to some degree their anti-authoritarian attitudes were taken up by activists in the 1960s. In their writing they encouraged direct and frank communication and, rejecting the formalist, impersonal writing encouraged by the New Criticism, they cultivated styles that gave the impression of spontaneity and improvisation. Much Beat poetry was performance orientated (often read in public with jazz accompaniment). Although they have been much parodied and satirized, the Beats brought fresh energies to American writing and their influence has been significant.

Further Reading:
THIS IS THE BEAT GENERATION (1999) by James Campbell; BEAT DOWN TO YOUR SOUL (2001), edited by Ann Charters; THE BEAT GENERATION WRITERS (1996), edited by A. Robert Lee; A DIFFERENT BEAT: WRITINGS BY WOMEN OF THE BEAT GENERATION (1997), edited by Richard Peabody, and THE DAYBREAK BOYS (1990) by Gregory Stephenson.

From THE ESSENTIAL GLOSSARY: AMERICAN LITERATURE by Stephen Matterson. © 2003 Stephen Matterson. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Harlem Renaissance

harlemrenaissance

Langston Hughes was a prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance — a movement during the 1920s of black writers and intellectuals who engaged in intense debate regarding the place of the African American in American life, and on the role and identity of the African-American artist.  Pictured here are Langston Hughes [far left] with [left to right:] Charles S. Johnson, E. Franklin Frazier, Rudolph Fisher and Hubert T. Delaney, on a Harlem rooftop on the occasion of a party in Hughes’ honor, 1924.
New York Public Library

The first major movement of African-American literature, beginning around 1923 and flourishing until the depression, but providing a stimulus that lasted through the 1940s.

The renaissance mainly involved a group of writers and intellectuals associated (often loosely) with Harlem, the district of Manhattan that, during the migration of African Americans from the rural South, became the major center for urbanized blacks. Harlem was described by Alain Locke (1886-1954) as “not merely the largest Negro community in the world, but the first concentration in history of so many diverse elements of Negro life.” The renaissance was associated with the New Negro Movement, so called because of the anthology THE NEW NEGRO (1925) edited by Locke, whose introductory essay “The New Negro” is the closest to a manifesto or statement of ideals that the Harlem Renaissance has. In it he writes of the Negro who is no longer apologetic for blackness but who takes a new pride in a racial identity and heritage, of the “renewed self-respect and self-dependence” felt in the contemporary black community, which is “about to enter a new phase.”

Elsewhere Locke urged writers to examine the meaning of an African past and to utilize this in their art. This urging coincided with a growing interest among whites at the time in primitivism, evident for example in Eugene O’Neill’s plays “The Emperor Jones” (1920) and “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” (1924). The Harlem Renaissance was partly fostered by the existence of this interest, and by the concurrent development of American modernism and the readiness to accept experimentation and to expand the breadth of artistic expression. The renaissance was greatly assisted by several whites, especially Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964), whose enthusiasm for African-American culture was reflected in his popular 1926 novel NIGGER HEAVEN. Locke had explicitly called for social and artistic interracial cooperation in “The New Negro,” commenting that, “The fiction is that the life of the races is separate, and increasingly so. The fact is that they have touched too closely at the unfavorable and too lightly at the favorable levels.”

One characteristic of the Harlem Renaissance was a move toward so-called “high art” in black writing, rather than the use of folk idioms, comic writing, and vernacular that had often been considered the special realm of African-American writing up to that time. In some respects this shift mirrors the change from rural to urban life for many blacks in this period. However, several of the Harlem writers made powerful use of folk idioms such as the blues, particularly Langston Hughes (1902-67). The Harlem writers also engaged in an intense debate regarding the place of the African American in American life, and on the role and identity of the African-American artist. In this sense the Harlem Renaissance is by no means a monolithic movement with a single purpose. For example, the artistic differences between Hughes and the poet Countee Cullen (1903-46) are instructive. Cullen believed that an African-American poet should be free to write in mainstream established traditions, and need not racialize poetry. “I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet,” he said, and wrote in forms such as the sonnet and became a translator of Euripides. Hughes, on the other hand, saw this attitude as a betrayal of racial identity, an aping of white European-ness, and sought in his work to accept and explore his blackness using forms and idioms that he associated with it. Both are major poets but their differences point to the relative breadth of the movement and to the development of quite different kinds of African-American writing in the Harlem Renaissance.

Prominent Harlem Renaissance writers include James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882-1961), the Jamaican-born Claude McKay (1889-1948), Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen (1893-1964), Jean Toomer (1894-1967), Arna Bontemps (1902-73), Gwendolyn Bennett (1902-81), and Helene Johnson (1907-95). In addition to the NEW NEGRO anthology, key works produced during the period of the renaissance or during its influence include Toomer’s multigeneric CANE (1923), Hughes’ WEARY’S BLUES (1926), Larsen’s QUICKSAND (1928) and PASSING (1929), and Hurston’s THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD (1937).

Further Reading:
COLOR, SEX AND POETRY: THREE WOMEN WRITERS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE (1987) by Gloria Hull; THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE IN BLACK AND WHITE (1995) by George Hutchinson; WHEN HARLEM WAS IN VOGUE (1989) by David Levering Lewis, and WOMEN OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE (1995) by Cheryl A. Wall. HARLEM RENAISSANCE: A HISTORICAL DICTIONARY FOR THE ERA (1984), edited by Bruce Kellner, is a valuable resource.

From THE ESSENTIAL GLOSSARY: AMERICAN LITERATURE by Stephen Matterson. © 2003 Stephen Matterson. Reprinted by permission of the author.