Beat Movement Essay

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If the beats followed Spengler's clue in looking to fellaheen like Huncke and Cassady for spiritual insight, they also followed his lead in steering their spiritual quest toward Asia. While other Americans were forging Protestant-Catholic-Jewish alliances during Eisenhower's presidency, the beats were moving toward a far more radical ecumenism. In addition to the Catholicism of Kerouac, the Protestantism of Burroughs, and the Judaism of Ginsberg, the beats studied gnosticism, mysticism, native American lore, Aztec and Mayan mythology, American transcendentalism, Hinduism, and especially Buddhism.

This religious eclecticism was epitomized by Jack Kerouac who, though born a Catholic, practiced Buddhist meditation and once observed the Muslim fast of Ramadan. When asked in an interview to whom he prayed, Kerouac replied, "I pray to my little brother, who died, and to my father, and to Buddha, and to Jesus Christ, and to the Virgin Mary." His pluralism reached still farther in...

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This section contains 1,379 words
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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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