The Daybreak Boys: Essays on the Literature of the Beat Generation

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SIU Press, Jun 25, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 232 pages
In these critical essays Gregory Stephenson takes the reader on a journey through the literature of the Beat Generation: a journey encompassing that common ethos of Beat literature— the passage from darkness to light, from fragmented being toward wholeness, from Beat to Beatific. He travels through Jack Kerouac’ s Duluoz Legend, following Kerouac’ s quests for identity, community, and spiritual knowledge. He examines Allen Ginsberg’ s use of transcendence in “ Howl,” discovers the Gnostic vision in William S. Burroughs’ s fiction, and studies the mythic, visionary power of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’ s poetry. Stephenson also provides detailed examinations of the writing of lesser-known Beat authors: John Clellon Holmes, Gregory Corso, Richard Fariń a, and Michael McClure. He explores the myth and the mystery of the literary legend of Neal Cassady. The book concludes with a look at the common traits of the Beat writers— their use of primitivism, shamanism, myth and magic, spontaneity, and improvisation, all of which led them to a new idiom of consciousness and to the expansion of the parameters of American literature.

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
Jack Kerouacs Duluoz Legend
17
3 Allen Ginsbergs Howl A Reading
50
4 The Gnostic Vision of William S Burroughs
59
Notes on the Poetry of Gregory Corso
74
Notes on the Novels of John Clellon Holmes
90
Notes on the Work of Michael McClure
105
Richard Farinas Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me
131
9 The Spiritual Optics of Lawrence Ferlinghetti
139
The Literary Legend of Neal Cassady
154
11 Conclusion
172
Notes
189
Selected Bibliography
201
Index
209
Back Cover
217
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About the author (2009)

Gregory Stephenson teaches in the Department of English at the University of Copenhagen. He has written extensively on contemporary American and English literature, including critical studies of Gregory Corso, Robert Sheckley, J.G. Ballard and Robert Stone.

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