Seeing the Beat Generation

Entering the Literature through Film


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About the Book

Beat generation writers dismantled mainstream America. They wrote under the influence of psychedelic drugs; they crossed and navigated multicultural boundaries and questioned the American dream; and they explored homosexuality, feminism and hyper-masculinity, redefining America’s marital and familial codes. Teaching such a history can be daunting, but film adaptations of Beat literature have proven to engage students. This book looks closely at the film adaptations of works by such authors as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Carolyn Cassady, Amiri Baraka and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as they relate to American history and literary studies.

About the Author(s)

Raj Chandarlapaty has taught literature and writing for the past 17 years, and has published articles on Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin and Mohammed Mrabet. He lives in Aurora, Colorado.

Bibliographic Details

Raj Chandarlapaty
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7575-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3670-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: New Americanist Visions, Modern
Theory and Knowledge, and the Beat “Setting” as Found in Film 11
One. Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac: The Films and the Reinvention of Text 25
Two. Allen Ginsberg: The Films and Romanticism’s True Test 89
Three. William S. Burroughs: The Films and His Postmodern Techniques of Reinvention 113
Four. Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Carolyn Cassady and Gary Snyder: Films on the Relevance of the ­Lesser-Known Beats 167
Conclusion: ­Sixty-Five Years Later, and What Did We Learn? 197
Appendix: Audiobooks and Recordings—New Beat
Consciousness and Teaching the Beats 201
Chapter Notes 215
Works Cited 221
Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “[This] book presents a warmly argued and impassioned rationale for advancing the teaching of Beat film in the literature classroom…Raj Chandarlapaty provides a method for Generation Z to benefit from this long metamorphosis, that their incendiary visions will persist, and that alone is reason to appreciate this remarkable book.”—The Mailer Review
  • “Raj Chandarlapaty’s Seeing the Beat Generation is an innovative foray into how documentaries and films can alter and enhance our perceptions of literary works by the Beat writers. Delving into an immense body of visual works focused on the Beat movement, Chandarlapaty critiques the increasing power of film to dominate our understanding of literature in our increasingly visual culture.”—Kurt Hemmer, Harper College, editor, Encyclopedia of Beat Literature