The Dharma Bums: Judging a Book by its Cover
Mar03

The Dharma Bums: Judging a Book by its Cover

On Dave Moore’s wonderful Beat Generation Facebook group – a partner to the very active Jack Kerouac group – there is at present a thread discussing the following cover for Jack Kerouac’s classic, The Dharma Bums. (The discussion actually revolves around the front cover and not the whole jacket as featured above.) The person who originally posted the cover remarked that it was the, “Worst cover...

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Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter
Dec16

Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter

It’s been an exciting few years for fans of the Beat Generation. Since Beatdom was founded, we have seen the release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published, as well as the centenary of the birth of...

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Borne out of War: The British Beats
Dec04

Borne out of War: The British Beats

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15 – the WAR issue. For about ten years after World War II Britain was a grey place. When Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady were gallivanting around the United States, the UK was recovering from Nazi bombing raids. Kids played in bomb craters and air-raid shelters. You could still find shell casings among the rubble and there were wrecked German Messershmitts in the fields. The big kids got...

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Blood and Black Power on the Streets of Chicago
Nov14

Blood and Black Power on the Streets of Chicago

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15: the WAR issue. By Pat Thomas    “Black Power: Find out what they want and give it to them. All the signs that mean anything indicate that the blacks were the original inhabitants of this planet. So who has a better right to it?”    William S. Burroughs   August 26 -29, 1968 - Turmoil is brewing throughout the Democratic National Convention, in Chicago. Tired of defending a war he...

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Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream
Oct26

Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream

The American Dream is the unifying theme across the work of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac wrote wondrous love letters while William Burroughs explored its often nightmarish landscape. However, Hubert Selby Jr. was the only writer to identify its failure while also providing an antidote to correct it. Hubert “Cubby” Selby Jr. was born in the dilapidated Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York in 1928.  He spent his formative years...

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War Upon War: The Second-Generation Beats and Postmemory
Oct15

War Upon War: The Second-Generation Beats and Postmemory

This essay originally appeared in Beatdom #15: the WAR issue.   by Katie Stewart     Most of the writers and artists to whom the label “Beat” was applied did not directly experience the horrors of war. Certainly, some of the older Beats of the original Columbia University circle had been in the firing line: Jack Kerouac, for one, shipped out in the merchant marines in the minefield of the Atlantic, and then joined the...

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The Beat Generation at War
Sep13

The Beat Generation at War

  From Beatdom #15 – Available now on Amazon as a print and Kindle publication: The Beat Generation is often viewed as apolitical, apathetic, selfish, and borne out of the post-WWII era of prosperity. They are viewed as rich kids who chose a bohemian lifestyle as a matter of fashion, as part of a teenage rebellion that went on too long, and inspired too many imitators, and eventually morphing into the beatniks and hippies...

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Melvillian Flat
Aug06

Melvillian Flat

There’s something about this second-floor Red Bank flat that hints of Melville, poor Bartleby scribbling away at his lonely desk, (or Kerouac when he took the job in the Hartford filling station and typed away gloomy hours). Maybe it’s the curve of the rounded windows or the rectangular window facing the street with its late nineteenth- century commercial buildings or the hardwood flooring with its long planks or the kitchen stool I...

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