The Beat Generation was created by a group of American writers in the 1950s, and gave inspiration and a new perspective for the lives of many. These writers spoke against mainstream American values, materialism, militarism, and consumerism. They were also experimental with drugs and took high interest in Eastern spirituality.
The biggest figures and early writers of the Beat Generation were Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, Lucien Carr, Peter Orlovsky, and John Clellon Holmes. These people were also known as the beatniks (legend has it that Bob Kaufman was the first person to be called a beatnik). Certain poets associated with the San Francisco Renaissance such as Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Harold Norse, Kirby Doyle, Michael McClure met some of the core beatniks. The poets associated with the Black Mountain College were also associated with the Beat Generation, such as Robert Creeley, ...view middle of the document...
These trials still had importance; they helped establish that if anything was deemed to have literary value, that it was no longer considered obscene. The Beats didnâ€™t only use obscenities to catch peopleâ€™s attention though; they often used these obscenities to show people what they werenâ€™t willing to admit to or wouldnâ€™t open their minds to. They also used concepts and imagery from Catholicism, Buddhism, and Judaism to encourage spirituality as well. Kerouac originally named the Beat Generation by referring to his group being â€œbeatenâ€ and â€œup-beatâ€.
The original "Beat Generation" writers met in New York: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs (in 1948). All three of these guys went to Columbia University. In 1950 Gregory Corso was added to the group known as the â€œNew York Beatsâ€. Although this sub-group was the group that put out the most literature, the people they were surrounded by were equally important. Without the inspiration of spontaneity there wouldnâ€™t have been a Beat Generation. Herbert Huncke was a drug addict and a thief who met Burroughs in 1946. Huncke showed the New York Beats the drug induced life style and junky lingo which included the word â€œbeatâ€. Neal Cassady, a major part of many beat works like Jack Kerouacâ€™s On the Road was introduced by friends of the Beats.
In the mid 1950s most of the Beats went to San Francisco and were associated with the San Francisco Renaissance. William Burroughs, however, did not go to San Francisco with the rest. San Francisco had a new reputation for being a creative city and many poets and writers in America decided to move there
Many writers were inspired by the publication of "Howl" and On the Road and decided to join the group. The Beats met most of these writers when they returned to New York: John Wieners, LeRoi Jones, Diane DiPrima, Anne Waldman. The New York School of poets (including Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, and James Schuyler, though Ashbery and Schuyler werenâ€™t quite as closely associated with the Beats), had already been established as a movement in New York; they found much in common with this ever-widening circle and consistently promoted one another's work.