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Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation? Paperback – May 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0141001517 ISBN-10: 0141001518

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 744 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141001518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141001517
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For a fresh take on an often simplified historical moment, look at Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation? in which Ann Charters has assembled some obscure and some familiar material by and about beatniks. In a letter to poet and critic Richard Eberhart, Allen Ginsberg says, "I was flattered... by the idea of recognition but really didn't agree with your evaluation of my own poetry," and explains, for 11 pages, his aesthetic and social intentions. Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores how writer Anatole Broyard, whose essay "A Portrait of the Hipster" appeared in the Partisan Review in 1948, passed as white early in his career in New York. Diane di Prima's piece about her newsletter with LeRoi Jones, Floating Bear, evokes the excitement of the early '60s East Village poetry scene.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ann Charters has had a thirty-year involvement with Beat literature. She was the editor of The Portable Beat Reader, The Portable Jack Kerouac, and two volumes of Jack Kerouac Selected Letters. She teaches at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Rico on April 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always admired Charters work concerning the Beats . It's scholarly and entertaining at the same time. Back in the sixties, if you asked an English professor why Beats weren't covered in the textbook ,you'd probably get a sideways look of disdain. If I were teaching a course on American Lit today, this would be mandatory. Some of the source material has been more or less unobtainable which makes this a true goldmine. It always seems like the Beat movement as a literary topic has been pretty much exhausted, but Ms. Charters has proven that not to be true.
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Format: Paperback
This anthology has some interesting material, particularly the excerpts from the "beats" themselves and the panel discussion of "beat women" at the end. But it leaves out some of the most interesting beats (Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, Kirby Doyle, Lenore Kandel, Richard Brautigan, Albert Saijo etc.) while larding the fat volume with writers who just boringly interpreted or reviewed the beats (Joyce Carol Oates, Alfred Kazin,Mary McCarthy etc.), who were irrelevant to the beats (Anatole Broyard, Jack Spicer, john Updike etc.), or who secretly disliked or openly hated the beats (Norman Podhoretz, William Carlos Williams, Diana Trilling, Kenneth Rexroth etc.) Not really much soul in that. What's the point of making academic hay out of the most anti-academic writers of the 20th century? Well of course the point is--making academic hay, in this case by an author who doesn't seem to care much for the beats herself. Like what F.Scott Fitzgerald said about his Princeton poetry professors who really hated poetry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary K on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Realistic analysis of the Beat Generation. Studing this subject for a college course and found the book helpful. Thanks for asking
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