This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Beat Countercultural Movement Essay

1104 words - 4 pages

To say that the Beat generation has affected modern culture seems at first to be no great revelation; it is inevitable that any period of history will affect the time that follows. The Beat generation is especially significant, though, because of its long lasting impact on American culture. Many aspects of modern American culture can be directly attributed to the Beat writers, primarily Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac. (Asher) Their influence has changed the American perception of obscenity, has had profound effects on American music and literature, and has modified the public’s views on such topics as sex and drug use.
The label “Beat Generation” was first publicized in a 1952 New York Times Magazine article entitled, “This is the Beat Generation.” In this article, author John Clellen Holmes states that “beat” means “More than mere weariness,” involving “a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness.” (Holmes) These feelings became the inspiration for the Beat writers and from them sprang ideas that permeated throughout society. Major interests among the Beats were freedom, self-expression, and a rejection of mainstream ideologies (such as those governing drugs, sex, and spirituality). (Scheibach 213)
Much of this new post-World War II era thinking was ill-received by many Americans at the time. Popular Beat writer Allen Ginsburg recited his famous poetic work, “Howl,” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on October 13, 1955. This reading was followed by a book of his poems, including Howl, being published, which was subsequently seized by officials and lead to an obscenity trial in 1957. (Howl)This landmark event marked a change in, if not public opinion, then judicial opinion regarding obscenity; the verdict stated that the work was not profane if it was of “redeeming social importance.” (Howl)
The definition of obscenity has changed greatly throughout American history, which can be seen as progress or regress or both, depending on one’s perspective. Many lines in Howl would have been considered obscene by the standards of his time, especially, “who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy.” (Howl) Prior to 1957, obscenity was legally defined as anything that “has a substantial tendency to deprave or corrupt its readers by inciting lascivious thoughts or arousing lustful desires.” (Obscenity) Since much of Howl is concerned with illicit drug use and sexual deviancy, it clearly meets these requirements. Now, however, no second thought is given to works such as “Howl.” Our culture has changed so drastically that not only has what was once considered obscene become accepted, but it has been raised to the status of literature.
The Beatniks, as they eventually came to be known, also had a strong influence on music and literature. The artists of the then-emerging musical style of rock and roll, such...

Find Another Essay On Beat Countercultural Movement

Confessional Poetry Essay

1791 words - 7 pages ) It is this sort of explicit, counterculture, stream of consciousness type work that forms the cornerstone of the beat poets and the seeds of the culture of the 1960’s in America. The associations and friend Ginsberg made through his early years were pivotal in forming his style and his career. In his years at Columbia University, and during the time thereafter, he met those who would form the core of the beat literary movement. He

Influence of the Beat in Literature

3140 words - 13 pages ways of the nature around him, Music, Literature, Peers, and mostly friends and this is what is happening in today’s society as media and peers are the main influences of a person. The Beat generation is a movement that heavily influenced 50’s art and mainly influenced the author Jack Kerouac, this movement spread throughout America’s 50’s influenced by post World War II with subjects of depression and rejection. Characters in this book On the

Did the Counterculture of the 1960s Have an Enormous Impact on the United States?

1771 words - 8 pages Final Paper Did the counterculture of the 1960s have an enormous impact on the United States? The counterculture is known as the main cultural occurrence that began in the United States and spread worldwide. This countercultural movement picked up vast speed and became the revolutionary way for the people as well as the United States Government during the military invasion in Vietnam. By mid March 1961 the John Birch Society had well over

Woodstock

1659 words - 7 pages with “freedom”. The psychedelic consciousness was seeded, in the United States, by countercultural gurus such as Dr. Timothy Leary, a Harvard University professor who began researching LSD as the tool of self-discovery. By the end of the 1960’s some people thought of counterculture as the political movement others saw it as a lifestyle revolution. Political protesting in the form of anti-war was waged by the counterculture

Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: The Anatomy of a Hero

3277 words - 13 pages associated with the countercultural revolution in which Kesey played an important role. Therefore, Kesey's name is often associated with the American West Coast and the hippie movement that centered itself there during the 1960s. Though he has since taken a more critical stance in regard to the alternative lifestyle he once championed, Kesey's later works remain haunted by fond references to the uninhibited life he enjoyed as a member of The Merry

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages , but rather elevated. Replicating an art substitutes a mass existence for a distinctive existence, hence, the reproduction of art, once permitted, brings art closer to the masses (Benjamin 1054). As time gradually changes from its traditional past, to the present “renewal of humanity” (1054), so does the perception of the masses and its movement. I would argue that the development of technological reproduction and capitalism have led to the loss

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Similar Essays

Influences Of Allen Ginsberg's Work Essay

654 words - 3 pages William Carlos Williams. In 1954, Allen moved to San Francisco Bay Area and became part of the countercultural gathering that would come to be known as the Beat Movement. The is also where meet male model and soon to be best friend Peter Orlovsky. In 1955, began to work on his epic poem “Howl” (1956), which soon became the a key part of Beat Generation and was published and following year by City Lights Bookstore in the form of Howl and Other Poems

Jack Kerouac's On The Road And Allen Ginsberg's Howl

4057 words - 16 pages the end Dean leaves Sal in hospital in Mexico saying “gotta get back to my life” (285). Kerouac seems adamant that self- concern is the only practical way to live, and contrary to ‘official’ culture, one need only be concerned with self-preservation, not the welfare of the group. The Beats oppose the practice of organized religion, but like their transcendentalist ancestors, “they are a religious movement, and the Beat literature

A Brief Analysis Of The Counterculture Movement Of The 1960s

2879 words - 12 pages Counterculture of the 1960s", which inherited a great deal of "Beat" thoughts and life styles.bThe Affluent Society----Economic RootsTo analysis the phenomenon of the countercultural movement of the 1960s, the major force of the movement --- the baby boom generation --- has to be mentioned here. After World War II, Young males returning to the United States following tours of duty overseas during World War II established families, which brought

The Importance Of Romanticism In Literature

829 words - 3 pages countercultural hippie movement of the 1960s, was more overtly “Romantic” than much of what was produced at the time “The Fish” was written). But therein lies a deeper truth which betrays efforts to systematize literature too completely. While many readers today might find themselves deeply sympathetic to Romanticism and its ideals, many will also be uncomfortable with the implications of its individualism and its regard for nature (a deep regard for