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Indian Journals Paperback – August 13, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The leading poet of the Beat generation and late-twentieth century American letters, a spokesman for the antiwar generation, an icon of the counterculture, Allen Ginsberg led a movement that profoundly altered the American literary and cultural landscapes. Indian Journals collects Ginsberg's writing from a 1962-63 stay in India. It is wonderfully eclectic, visionary, at times intensely private, and always in possession of a hallucinatory clarity that affirms Ginsberg's truly great ability, as well as his ebullient spirit. Indian Journals took half a decade to transcribe and edit; when it was originally published in 1970 it catalyzed a large movement of young Western pilgrims to explore India and Eastern thought. This new edition contains an updated and expanded section of newly discovered photographs taken by Ginsberg during his time spent in India. The perfect combination of text and images, Indian Journals is testimony to Ginsberg's passionate interest in Eastern religion and mysticism and contains the raw materials for some of his most important poems.

About the Author

Allen Ginsberg was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as a winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1926, and died in New York City in 1997.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (August 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802134750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802134752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Allen Ginsberg was born in 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, a son of Naomi Ginsberg and lyric poet Louis Ginsberg. In 1956 he published his signal poem, Howl, one of the most widely read and translated poems of the century. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French minister of culture in 1993, and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world, Allen Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This collection of diary entries, pieces of poems, personal reflections, and other notations written by Allen Ginsberg (poet + prophet) reveals a lot not only about Ginsberg, but about India itself. The conditions on the streets of Calcutta, Bombay, and other Indian cities are presented in stark clarity; many of the images he invokes are startling (like the burning ghats, or burial mounds), and sometimes even disturbing, but they are always described in a way that is at once personal and human. Ginsberg frequently writes about different Hindu gods and goddesses, reflecting his deep interest in and knowledge of Indian culture. There are a series of photographs that compliment the written words very well; as opposed to the original printing of this book, there are several new photographs included. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Allen Ginsberg, the Beats, Poetry, India, or the human spirit and it's compassionate nature....
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Format: Paperback
Beautiful and paranoiac in the same time this epic journey of Allen Ginsberg w/ Peter Orlowsky in India shows written bits as diary writing, journals, magnificent poems along the way with wonderful photographs inserted. This books is a collage of ideas, sentiments, emotions captured by Allen's ink along his trip throught Calcutta, beautiful instants, praise for the police state, words that fall on the text, announced with a cold voice. This book begin as a diary and classic Allen Ginsberg poems comes at some moments, lenghty experimental poetry classic from the Beat instant. A really nice book with nice paper and typographs.
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1962: Ginsberg and travel partner/lover Peter Orlovsky set out to live in India for an extended period of writing, spiritual seeking, and living in this multi-faceted culture.

The text fluctuates between journal entries, prose, and sketches, and Ginsberg's loose style permeates without. I appreciated his ability to make words work hard for him. Having spent quite a bit of time in many of the places mentioned in the writings, I had a personal connection with the book; he tackled the slums of Calcutta and the burning ghats of Benares with the utmost ease, and I found myself reading with a mix of wonder and bittersweet reminiscence.

Sadly, his daily drug addiction casts a shadow over spiritual nature of the journey, and even he seems to allude to the fact that he is clouded and limited in his insights because of it. Despite that, I still loved the read, and hope to be able to bring in some of Ginsberg's spirit and style into some of my own writing.
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Kudos on the research and writing style that artfully portrays the core beats on a disjointed, realistic and spirited jaunt through early 60s India, seeking a spiritual short cut to cosmic realities, or a more convenient substitute. Ginsberg and friends are confronted with the daunting obstacle of unraveling the confounding realities of everyday India and its multiple expressways to religious truths. They subsist, persevere and discover their way back home, relatively healthy and a broadened perspective decal slapped on their overhead luggage. Kudos again for the development of relationships that unites this core of beats before, during and after the erratic Eastern sortie that some of them actually made. It is entertaining scholarship that allows us to enter the world of a free spirited literary group that, because of no fault of their own, became influential in American literature.
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