Born to the beat. Speaks of the beat generation

Essay by Anonymous UserA, January 1996

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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...