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         The phenomenon of the Beats [popularly 'Beatniks'] arose in public consciousness in the Summer of 1959, primarily in New York City and San Francisco and Venice Beach, California. The key personalities of the Beat movement included Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

         The earliest event was the first road trip across America by Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady in 1948. In late 1949, Kerouac first used the term 'Beat generation', in the sense of 'worn down' or 'down and out' or 'exhausted'. The second Kerouac-Cassady road trip took place in 1950, to Mexico City to visit Bill Burroughs. In late 1952, the publication of John Clellon Holmes' novel "Go" and of his New York Times Magazine essay "This Is The Beat Generation" brought this new movement to the attention of the intellectuals and the media. In 1953, Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. In August of 1954, an article by Malcolm Crowley in Saturday Review referred to Kerouac's unpublished novel "On The Road", and named Kerouac as the man who invented the Beat Generation.
         Kerouac attended the seminal 7 October 1955 "Six Gallery" reading in San Francisco, which featured Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, Kenneth Rexroth, and Philip Whalen; Allen Ginsberg recited his epic poem "Howl" for the first time publicly. In 1956, City Lights published Ginsberg's "Howl and Other Poems" as #4 of its Pocket Poets Series, resulting in an obscenity fight that was eventually won in Federal court.

         Kerouac's "On the Road" was published 5 September 1957, and was a bestseller. Throughout 1957, San Francisco's 'Poetry and Jazz' scene erupted, at The Cellar and at The Blackhawk, with similar activity in Venice Beach, CA at the GasHouse and the Venice West Cafe, as well as coffeehouses in towns big and small. On 2 April 1958, Herb Caen, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, coined the term 'beatnik' (a pun on 'sputnik'). The year 1958 also saw publication of Kerouac's "The Subterraneans" (February) and "The Dharma Bums" (October).
         In 1959, the national and international media discovered the Beats, with cover articles published by Life Magazine, Time Magazine, and others. Also in 1959, Burroughs's "Naked Lunch" was published by Olympia Press of Paris. The year 1960 saw a rash of books published on the Beat phenomenon, but public attention moved on to the Kennedy era and to the civil rights movement.

         The influence of the Beat ethic continues in America and around the world, with new books and movies still being created after 2000. And the world of 'poetry slams' in coffeehouses attracts hordes of adults young and old. In fact, this is the most-visited of the 9 websites at this URL; though I know not where the traffic is coming from, something is drawing the attention of many, including whoever is reading this now...
         There is much information collected and posted on these pages, with more being added on-goingly, and lots of cool books and audio and videos and even a few posters and sound-bites.


Charles Bukowski [1920-94] Page

Wm. S. Burroughs [1914-97] Page

Albert Camus [1913-60] Page

Gregory Corso [1930-2001] minipage

Allen Ginsberg [1926-97] Page

Jack Kerouac [1922-69] Pages

Ken Kesey [1935-2001] Page

Dr. Timothy Leary [1920-96] Page

Alan Watts [1915-73] Pages


'The  Beat Generation'  Page
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Active/Living Beat Writers
Non-Fiction About The Beats
Audio By/About The Beats
Movies & Videos About The Beats


Zen-ness  Department  Page


Beatnik  Film  Festival  Page


Beverage  Department  Page
top of page    ★    Books    ★    Coffee & Tea Links
Equipment    ★    Retail & Wholesale Vendors


Beret  Department
Basque-style berets from Amazon.com
Magic Black Wool Beret: lightweight 100% wool - $7.44
Delmonico Wool Euro Beret: 8 colors, unisize - $10.00
Private Island French Wool Beret: 4 colors, unisize - $12.99
Kangol Furgora Beret: 7 colors, unisize - $42.00
Scala Basque Beret 3 colors, 100% wool, imported from France - $45.00

John Helmer, Haberdasher [est. 1921] in Portland, Oregon - berets for $10-$62



The Beatnik Coffeehouse Page at Maison d'Ętre Philosophy Bookstore
top of this page    ★    Beat Authors Pages    ★    Zen-ness Dept.    ★    Beverages Dept.

The Beat Generation Page at Maison d'Ętre Philosophy Bookstore
top of page    ★    Beat writers    ★    non-fiction    ★    audio tapes    ★    movies/videos



Southern California Directory

Online sales in association with  Beat Generation catalog at Amazon

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[ created 1/2000 . . . . . . last update 8/2013 ]

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