The Beat Movement was a literary and cultural phenomenon that began in the late 1940s and burst into public consciousness in the mid to late 1950s. The rebellious, free-spirited writers associated with the movement were good friends who first got to know one another in New York and San Francisco. Disenchanted with the post-war military industrial complex that stifled individualism, the Beats experimented with sex, drugs, and crime, and wrote about all of it with energy and candor.
That some of these writers were on a quest for spiritual fulfillment--not just an irresponsible romp--often goes unnoticed, but this quest was central to the Beat Movement's lasting significance and warrants our close attention. This course will cover the seminal Beat authors, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. Others on the syllabus include Herbert Huncke, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Gregory Corso, Bob Kaufman, Diane di Prima, and Amiri Baraka.
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