Beat Movement Essay

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The beat movement began with the meeting of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg in New York in 1944, coursed its way through the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the 1950s, and spent itself sometime in the early 1960s. It was led by three main figures—a working-class French-Canadian Catholic from Lowell, Massachusetts (Kerouac), a middle-class Russian-American Jew from Paterson, New Jersey (Ginsberg), and an upper-class Anglo-American Protestant from St. Louis (Burroughs)— and included a large supporting cast of novelists, poets, and hangers-on. What united these men (and the vast majority of them were men) was a "new consciousness" or a "new vision."

Like any spiritual innovation, this new vision included a rejection of dominant spiritual norms and established religious institutions. Neither of the two most popular spiritual options of the early postwar period—the new evangelicalism of Billy Graham and the mind cure of Rabbi Joshua Liebman's Peace of Mind...

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This section contains 1,045 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Beat Movement Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Beat Movement from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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