Friday, February 20, 2009

What Was the Beat Generation? - Part Two

Kerouac: Kicks Joy Darkness album coverImage via Wikipedia

What Was the Beat Generation? Part Two by Russell Shortt

So what went before that inspired such originality? Well their influences were diverse - take Kerouac's spontaneous prose, well put it this way Jack liked his jazz, improvisational jazz, the bop jazz style of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Burroughs cut-up method may have had it's origins in the poetry of Tristan Tzara and speaking of Tzara, Dadaism and Surrealism directly impacted upon many of the Beats. Like the Dadaists, the Beats liked to attack the elitism of high culture and thrived on being spontaneous; and similar to the Surrealists they drew from their subconscious, juxtaposed the disassociated and desired to be influential upon humanity. They were also influenced by the Symbolists - Rimbaud and Baudelaire; and by the Romantics - Shelley and Blake. They also drew from the Transcendentalists - Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman.

And even though, the Beats were reacting against Modernist tendencies, they were influenced by writers like Proust, William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. In addition to having precursors, the Beats also had contemporaries who were working in other artistic endeavours - Jackson Pollack's action paintings and other Abstract Expressionists such as de Kooning and Kline; the composer John Cage and the assemblages of Rauschenberg. The Beats' influence was massive and widespread and continues to be down to the present day.

The Beat Generation tested traditional lifestyles, norms and values in the post World War II era - breaking from the mainstream and developing different approaches to living. The Beats also had a large influence on rock and roll including Bob Dylan, The Doors and The Beatles.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt,

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1 comment:

  1. Maybe you'd enjoy my Kerouac-obsessed blog at