Indeed, it is impossible to comprehend the sixties without first grasping the importance of the social ripples set in motion by the Beats a decade earlier. Although their prose and poetry varied in style and for the most part did not represent a genuine literary movement, the Beats, through their words and nonconformist lives, collectively posed a challenge to the staid and complacent America of the postwar years. They believed in free expression, opposing all censorship; they dabbled in free love; they practiced Eastern philosophy, leading to an embrace in America of alternative forms of spirituality; sooner than others, they watched with dismay the increasingly heavy hand of military and corporate culture in our national life; they embraced the aspirations, as well as the lingo, of urbanized black Americans.
They believed in the liberating influence of hallucinogenic drugs. In short, the Beats were thoroughly American in their love of individual freedom.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that J. Edgar Hoover described them in as one of the three greatest threats to American security after communism and intellectual "eggheads".
Refresh and try again. While Morgan does a good job of piecing together Beat chronology and demonstrating the centrality of Ginsburg, he doesn't meet his goal of showing how society was changed by the Beats. The thesis gives a nice structure to the work and is credible enough. Oct 21, Adam rated it really liked it Shelves: A fascinating, thorough biography of the entire beat movement and all those contained therein. They gather in New York or Mexico City, are separated by addiction or jealousy or infidelities, travel abroad to deepen their studies, escape the law or to have freer access to drugs. He lives in Vermont.
The story that Bill Morgan tells has less to do with sociology than with social mingling. Burroughs, and the small army of other names. Although Kerouac, author of the much loved novel On the Road, was the most famous of the Beat writers, it was Ginsberg, Morgan contends, who resided at the center of the group and for more than two decades provided it with cohesion and a sense of direction.
The Beats were not saints. They were sexually irresponsible, undependable in marriage the movement could in fact fairly be described as misogynistic ; they did too many drugs and consumed too much booze; the very quality that characterized their lives and writings—a fervent belief in spontaneity—destroyed some friendships.
Bill Morgan has provided a sweeping, indispensable story about these discontented free spirits. We watch their peripatetic lives, their sexual misadventures, their ambivalent response to fame. We are reminded above all that while their personal lives may have not have been holy, their typewriters and their lasting words very much were.
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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. The typewriter is holy: First Free Press hardcover edition View all editions and formats Summary: Chronicles the lives of key contributors and offers insight into their lasting influence, featuring coverage of the stories surrounding such publications as Allen Ginsberg's "Howl and Other Poems" and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Criticism, interpretation, etc Named Person: Bill Morgan Find more information about: A narrative and personality-driven history of the Beat Movement, chronicling the intertwined lives of its colourful, gritty group of writers.
Publisher Synopsis "Bill Morgan draws on an encyclopedic knowledge of the Beat writers to shine sober, sympathetic light into the dark corners of four tortured lives. User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers.
Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. View most popular tags as: Similar Items Related Subjects: Ginsberg, Allen, -- Kerouac, Jack, -- Ginsberg, Allen, -- Beats Persons American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.