Beat Spirit: The Way of the Beat Writers As a Living Experience

Overview

This is it...as close as you can get to the Beat movement. A totally interactive, entertaining, and mind-altering volume of Beat recreation.

"To truly understand the Beat spirit," says Mel Ash, "you must be Beat, in the same way that you cannot know what an orange tastes like from simply reading about it." In Beat Spirit, Generation Xers, Boomer yuppies, and today's new Beats of all ages will find amusing doings, creative experiments, and subversive activities inspired by the ...

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Overview

This is it...as close as you can get to the Beat movement. A totally interactive, entertaining, and mind-altering volume of Beat recreation.

"To truly understand the Beat spirit," says Mel Ash, "you must be Beat, in the same way that you cannot know what an orange tastes like from simply reading about it." In Beat Spirit, Generation Xers, Boomer yuppies, and today's new Beats of all ages will find amusing doings, creative experiments, and subversive activities inspired by the great Beat geniuses. You'll discover immortality and invisibility with William Burroughs (see "Live Forever" and "Becoming Invisible"), learn to talk like the animals with Michael McClure (see "Animal Talk"), master the fine art of going sane with Jack Kerouac (see "Sea Sounds"), and create your own Beat autobiography with the author. Join the company of Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Alan Watts, Diane DiPrima, and their heirs.

An emotional, cerebral, and maybe even bodily experience, this book is your orange. Take a bite. Taste the Beat spirit and feed the rebellious, nonconformist, fiercely independent streak that lives within you. Let the juice of the Beats run down your chin.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As Ash (Shaving the Inside of Your Skull, Putnam, 1997) makes clear, this book is not a history of the Beats but a unique, "interactive" self-help book aimed at Generation Xers who find themselves drawn to the philosophical and spiritual principles that inform Beat literature and art. Ash examines works by various authors, including Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs; analyzes the values promulgated therein; and then assigns the reader exercises based on those values. Exercises range from "getting naked" to doing genealogical research to writing a suicide note. Ash's aesthetic analysis is generally on target, and the bibliographies he includes are useful. However, a "how to become a Beat" manual seems somewhat paradoxical given the Beat Generation's celebration of originality and spontaneity. The workbook format makes this publication more appropriate for bookstores than libraries.William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874778809
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/13/1997
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

Beforewords: How I Became a Beatnik 1
Introduction 5
How to Use Beat Spirit 14
Suggested Readings and Other Media 19
The Beat Background 23
Three Ways to Beat Nirvana: The Three Ts 24
Six Elements of the Beat Spirit 26
Ancestors: The Way of Spiritual Transmission 29
Genesis: East Coast 38
The Way of Spiritual Decontrol 41
The Way of Spiritual Nakedness 83
The Way of Spiritual Spontaneity 125
Exodus: West Coast 170
The Way of Spiritual Craftsmanship 173
The Way of Spiritual Rebellion 197
The Way of Spiritual Reinvention 217
The Way of Spiritual Gamesmanship 235
Prophets: The Way of Spiritual Diversity 253
The Writers 256
The Artists 280
Latter Day Saints and Heirs: The Way of Spiritual Anarchy 291
Afterwords: The Beat Goes On 318
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