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Selected Beat Generation Works

Charters, Ann, ed. The Portable Beat Reader. New York: Viking, 1992.

Literary revolutions ignite, blaze, and eventually die down just as the writers who embodied them age and pass away.   What remains of the revolution is the body of literature — the message still alive and strong. Here, Beat scholar Ann Charters presents a wide sampling from the movement's literary canon. One innovation beyond standard Beat anthologies is the recognition and inclusion of writings by some of the Beat writers' wives and girlfriends.

George-Warren, Holly, ed. The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats: The Beat Generation and American Culture. New York: Hyperion, 1999.

In a rousing collection of previously published articles and new original essays, Rolling Stone digs into its long affiliation with the Beat Generation to bring forth a serious book of information. Divided into six sections, there is a kaleidoscope of reviews, editorials, drawings, and testimonials attesting to the spirited life of the Movement, and the depths of its effects on today's culture.

Ginsberg, Allen. Snapshot Poetics: Allen Ginsberg's Photographic Memoir of the Beat Era. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993.

The poet Allen Ginsberg only began to take his photography seriously in 1953. This was, coincidentally, the last year that the original Beat writers would ever spend a length of time together in New York City.   Over 70 of Ginsberg's striking photographs and hand-scrawled captions document this moment in time and later periods in the Beats' lives. The captions read like a diary of Ginsberg's strong feelings for the men that he photographed.


Knight, Brenda, ed. Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a RevolutionBerkeley: Conari Press, 1996.

Profiling forty women writers and artists, an intriguing survey of the Beat Generation showcases the work of Joyce Johnson, Joan Vollmer Adams Burroughs, Joanne Kyger, Diane DiPrima, and others and includes bibliographies, commentary, photographs, and anecdotes about each woman.

Lawlor, William. The Beat Generation: A Bibliographical Teaching Guide. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

Students and teachers of the Beat artistic movement will find much to use in this volume. Annotated bibliographies for books include brief quotes from the works. There are five main points of focus:   the Beats in general, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac, and other Beats. Under each of these, annotated bibliographies are given. Educators will appreciate the opening section on approaches to teaching, and students will benefit from the closing list of topics for investigation.

McDarrah , Fred W., and Gloria S. McDarrah. Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village. New York: Schirmer, 1996.

As photographer and picture editor for the Village Voice for more than 35 years, Fred McDarrah possessed a wealth of Beat history, some of it on film that had never been developed. With a resurgence of interest in the Beats, McDarrah and his wife chose 250 photos to pay homage to the Beat scene in New York City's Greenwich Village of the 1950s. At the time the Village was an inexpensive place to live, where young people swarmed for poetry readings and parties — and McDarrah's photographs capture it all in full swing. Also included are some Beat poems reproduced in their original typescript with revisions marked by the authors.

Morgan, Bill. The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City San Francisco: City Lights, 1997.

Set off on the eternal trail of the Beat experience in the city that inspired many of Jack Kerouac's best-loved novels including On the RoadVanity of DuluozThe Town and the Cityand Desolation Angels. This is the ultimate guide to Kerouac's New York, packed with photos of the Beat Generation and filled with undercover information and little-known anecdotes


Peabody, Richard, ed. A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat GenerationLondon: Serpent's Tail, 1997.

Includes selections from Carolyn Cassady, Joyce Johnson, Jan Kerouac, Margaret Randall, Laura Ulewicz, and Anne Waldman


Phillips, Lisa. Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art in association with Flammarion, 1995.

Published as a companion volume to an art exhibit held at New York's Whitney Museum in 1995-96, this work includes reproductions (some color) of paintings, photographs, collages, drawings, and sculptures of Beat artists. Interspersed with the artwork are individually authored chapters on subjects such as the Black Beats, the culture's affinity for jazz, and Beat film. The piece by Maurice Berger, “Libraries Full of Tears: The Beats and the Law,” gives a striking account of a time when censors were strong and homophobia virulent.

Tytell, John. Paradise Outlaws: Remembering the Beats. New York: William Morrow, 1999.

As a written and photographic memorial, this work combines personal reminiscences and impromptu pictures of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and others. The author, both a Beat scholar and intimate friend of the writers, offers observations and commentary about their social and literary legacy. The personal photographs by the author's wife give an intimate view of the personalities as they aged and changed.

Waldman, Anne, ed. The Beat Book: Poems and Fiction of the Beat Generation. Boston: Shambhala Lion, 1996.

This work, edited by a recognized poet, intends to present a “taste” of the literary time period rather than a standard anthology of the “classic” writings. The focus ends up being on the pure literary voices and their cumulative message. It also includes women and ethnic writers not often recognized in Beat anthologies.


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