What better way is there to capture history or to sum up a generation of thought,
than through literature? To look back into the past to see what events took place and
what the mood of the people was, people look to literature. It displays the lifestyles of
the time and an intimate peek into the lives of the past. The Beat Generation captures
the attitude of kids that had lived through World War II and their perspective on
everything from politics to personal philosophy. But the Beat Generation did not just
produce a mundane account of this time period...they did not just express their political
views in conventional essay format. The Beat Generation was one of the first group of
writers to break down the barriers of traditional literature and set a precedent for future
writers with their writing style, their way of life and what they had to say; and this is truly
a triumphant time in American history.
'This is the Beat Generation. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of
soul...a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness.' (Kerouac)
The Beat Generation was a literary movement born out of World War II. These
'post-war kids' were a counterpart to the 'Lost Generation' after World War I, which
included Hemingway. The only people that made up the Beat Generation were Jack
Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Herbert Huncke
with the later addition of Gregory Corso and Peter Orlorsky. Any other writers
associated with this crowd were the New York and San Francisco poets.
Herbert Huncke picked up the word 'beat' in 1945. It is derived from carnival
or circus workers, reflecting the poor conditions of their nomadic life. 'I meant beaten.
The world against me.' Huncke...