Beats and Company: Portrait of a Literary Generation

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Garden City 1986 Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket 038523368X. Foreword by John Clellon Holmes. Illustrated with black and white and color photographs throughout. ... First edition. Previous owner's stamp on all three edges and on front free endpaper, else very good in a very good (long tape repaired edge tear on front panel) dust jacket. Read more Show Less

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New York 1986 Hardcover First Edition Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket 038523368x. Tiny stain to the front blank end paper, else a clean copy in jacket.; 8vo 8"-9" tall; 159 ... pages. Read more Show Less

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1st edition stated. 159pp, (9x12 inches), b&w (and a few color) photos, index. Foreword by John Clellon Holmes. Near Fine/Very Good, hardcover with dust jacket. Book is crisp, ... tight, clean, corners sharp, no markings. DJ has light wear to top edge with a 3/4 inch tear. Charters "captures her subjects at their readings, their parties, in their homes, an dwith family and friends." Read more Show Less

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Garden City 1986 Hardcover First edition, as stated Near Fine in very good jacket TIght binding. No chips, tears, creases or written inscriptions on pages. Dust jacket is ... price-clipped and has some small tears, creasing and curling around edges. Includes William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ken Kesey, and many others. Introduction by John Clellon Holmes. Many black and white and full colour photographs. Size: 4to (11" to 13). 159 pp. Read more Show Less

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385233682
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1986
  • Pages: 160

Meet the Author

Ann Charters
Ann Charters
Scholar, editor, and biographer of Beat generation writer Jack Kerouac -- she even penned the preface to his groundbreaking On the Road -- Ann Charters captures the passion and promise of one of the most culturally influential decades of the century.

Biography

It's nearly impossible to come across a significant study of Jack Kerouac without encountering the name Ann Charters. A foremost Beat scholar, she wrote the first biography of the On the Road author and has studied his milieu for over 20 years. Charters also has a personal connection to back up her scholarly interest in the Beats: When she was a junior at University of California, Berkeley, her roommate set her up on a date with Peter Orlovsky. Charters was actually in love with her professor, Sam Charters, whom she later married; as for Orlovsky, he was Allen Ginsberg's boyfriend. Charters said in a magazine interview, "My roommate...said to me, 'I'll fix you up with a wonderful boy who's your own age.' This was Peter Orlovsky, before he was living with Allen, and who considered 'Howl' to be the greatest poem since Whitman's Leaves of Grass."

Though the romance didn't pan out, Charters' love of the Beats endured, and she became the genre's anthologist of note. After completing biographies of Kerouac and the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, Charters assembled the now-classic The Story and Its Writer, a collection of exemplary short stories and commentary by and about authors such as Raymond Carver and Anton Chekhov. In addition to her taste and eye for good literature, one of Charters' strengths is her ability to incorporate the author's voice. She got Kerouac's cooperation on her biography of him and included the authors' own analyses of their work in The Story and Its Writer.

This acumen probably reached its apotheosis when Charters edited a collection of Kerouac's letters. By that time, a second Kerouac biography, Memory Babe by Gerald Nicosia, had been released, and as Charters told the Alsop Review, "my book was, I thought, in comparison, woefully inadequate." She continued, "That's why I took on the editing, because I saw with the letters that it could be a way of giving a biography through my selection, which emphasizes Jack's life as a writer.... If I were to write a biography -- and I will not rewrite my first biography -- well, I've done that with this two-volume set."

Though she has focused on Kerouac in her work, Charters has also done a lot to improve the understanding of Beat literature in general, not only by editing well-known anthologies such as The Portable Beat Reader but also by writing introductions and essays in editions of major works. For a British anthology called The Penguin Book of the Beats (which follows the structure of The Portable Beat Reader), she explained her approach in a publisher's interview: "I decided I wouldn't just alphabetically arrange my favorite Beat writers or put them in big sections, like Poetry, Fiction, Essays. I would organize it historically, so that someone who didn't know much about Beat writing could come in and use the book as an introduction to the whole field and have some guidelines."

Charters is appealing as an editor and anthologist because she embraces, rather than trying to distance herself from, her personal connection to the era she covers. With The Portable Sixties Reader, her most expansive collection yet, she continues to illuminate a crucial literary era.

Good To Know

Charters has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of Connecticut, where she has been a professor of English since 1974.

Charters on Kerouac's detractors: "Most people are, at heart, good people, but fairly conservative. They really like to think that there's a tried-and-true way of writing, and you sit and write 13 revisions. And when they hear that he's bragging that he's written it in one draft they kind of get their hackles up." (online zine interview)

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bridgeport, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1957; M.A., Columbia University, 1959; Ph.D., 1965

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