The Beat Generation was a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of "Beat" culture included experimentation with drugs, alternative forms of sexuality, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and the idealizing of exuberant, unexpurgated means of expression and being.
Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature. Both Howl and Naked Lunch were the focus of obscenity trials that ultimately helped to liberalize publishing in the United States. The members of the Beat Generation developed a reputation as new bohemian hedonists, who celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity.
The original "Beat Generation" writers met in New York. Later, in the mid-1950s, the central figures (with the exception of Burroughs) ended up together in San Francisco where they met and became friends with figures associated with the San Francisco Renaissance.
In the 1960s, elements of the expanding Beat movement were incorporated into the hippie counterculture.
Famous quotes containing the words beat and/or generation:
“A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. Hell beat you all at piety.”
—Samuel Johnson (17091784)
“But why should not the New Englander try new adventures, and not lay so much stress on his grain, his potato and grass crop, and his orchards,raise other crops than these? Why concern ourselves so much about our beans for seed, and not be concerned at all about a new generation of men?”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)