Beat Generation

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.

Read more about Beat Generation:  Influences On Western Culture, Criticism, The Beats Comment On The Beat Generation, Films About The Beat Generation

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