The phrase "beat generation" -- introduced by Jack Kerouac in 1948 -- characterized the underground, nonconformist youths who gathered in New York City at that time. Together, these writers, artists, and activists created an inimitably American cultural phenomenon that would have a global influence. In their constant search for meaning, the Beats struggled with anxiety, alienation, and their role as the pioneers of the cultural revolution of the 1960s.
The Philosophy of the Beats explores the enduring literary, cultural, and philosophical contributions of the Beats in a variety of contexts. Editor Sharin N. Elkholy has gathered leading scholars in Beat studies and philosophy to analyze the cultural, literary, and biographical aspects of the movement, including the drug experience in the works of Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, feminism and the Beat heroine in Diane Di Prima's writings, Gary Snyder's environmental ethics, and the issue of self in Bob Kaufman's poetry. The Philosophy of the Beats provides a thorough and compelling analysis of the philosophical underpinnings that defined the beat generation and their unique place in modern American culture.
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