This is a course covering the 1950’s literary movement in the United States lead by a group of writers called “the Beats,” or often the “Beat Generation,” one of the few truly original and authentic literary “movements” launched from within the United States. This course will be a chronological survey from the early days of the post-war years as these major writers formed their primary poetic and spiritual themes, to the mid-sixties when the movement began to fragment into other forms. We will also explore literary/social influences on the movement itself as well as on individual writers, and examine the many ways in which the Beats influenced the next generations of American writers. Given our short time frame in January term, we will focus primarily the “major” Beat writers including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, but will also cover important members such as Gary Snyder, Diane Diprima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gregory Corso. We will, however, survey many other contributors to this movement, as well as “second generation” Beat writers such as Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka.


4 sh



Previous Course Number

ENG 233

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