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The Beat Generation

A Beginner's Guide

Without them, the Hippies and the Punks would never have existed.

The Beat Generation were a revolutionary group of poets, drifters, musicians, and visionaries whose gritty spontaneous prose explored alienation, repression, and what it meant to be a member of the human race in post-WWII American society. Through the iconic personalities of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Corso, and Burroughs, along with women writers, musicians, and artists, Christopher Gair charts the emergence and true significance of the group, revealing how their fresh approach to literature and a bohemian lifestyle created one of the most exciting and important movements in American literature. Half a century after the publication of the modern classics "Howl" and "On the Road", the movement continues to attract scores of new readers, influencing everything from bebop to the Beastie Boys.

Christopher Gair is a Senior Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Glasgow. His books include The American Counterculture (2007).

"The special merit of Christopher Gair's supremely intelligent study is its awareness that the Beats still attract attention for extra literary reasons."

– American Studies, Journal of

"In this essential study, Professor Gair takes us beyond the cliches of the beatnik and non-conformity to establish how the Beat Generation came out of the political, economic, cultural, and ideological tensions of post-1945 America."

– Scott Lucas - Executive Director of Libertas: The Centre for the Study of US Foreign Policy

"For its breadth of coverage, including the international impact of the Beats, as well as for the perspecuity of its detailing, this book is both an excellent beginning point and a reference source to be returned to time and again."

– James Williams - Senior Managing Editor of Critical Inquiry

"Making a clear and coherent historical narrative out of the richly varied but often messy and disputed elements comprising the Beat Generation."

– Oliver Harris

"A comprehensive, lively and supremely approachable introduction to the turbulence and iconoclasm of mid-twentieth-century American writers and their lives."

– Geoff Ward - Dean of Arts at the University of London and author of The Writing Of America: Literatu

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