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release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published,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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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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Joyce Johnson’s Novels Available From Open Road Media
Jul12

Joyce Johnson’s Novels Available From Open Road Media

Joyce Johnson is best-known for her 1983 memoir, Minor Characters, which focuses on the years 1957-58, and concerns the role of the marginalized woman in the Beat sphere. It is ironic, then, that she is often written off as Kerouac’s girlfriend and the woman who wrote about being Kerouac’s girlfriend. Indeed, Johnson is an accomplished novelist in her own right, and an important figure in Beat studies beyond being merely one of the...

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A Name by Any Other Name Is Not Prince Myshkin
Jan14

A Name by Any Other Name Is Not Prince Myshkin

“At the time I sincerely believed that the only decent activity in the world was to pray for everyone, in solitude.” i Nastasya Filippovna Barashkov is a madwoman or did she just read too many poems? ii Lear on the moor of woes, sinful and sorrowful, sorrows heaped one after another with only the Fool as companion “. . . why ask questions or tear hair or weep. . .” iii Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin is The Idiot “Dostoevsky of Czarist...

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Jack Kerouac Shipped Out from Perth Amboy
Apr24

Jack Kerouac Shipped Out from Perth Amboy

In Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson, Kerouac writes to Joyce, “It was a good thing you didn’t come back on the ship with me because it only went to big gas tank barges off Perth Amboy.” Kerouac was headed on the Yugoslavian freighter to North Africa on a Sunday, February 15, 1957, and would meet William Burroughs in Tangier. Joyce Johnson writes in Minor Characters: A Beat...

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The Voice is All: Joyce Johnson Talks about Her Latest Book
Mar15

The Voice is All: Joyce Johnson Talks about Her Latest Book

Joyce Johnson’s role in Beat history is too often viewed simply as that of Jack Kerouac’s girlfriend. There is surprise when one first learns that she was a novelist in her own right and at the disdain for her position as a scholar of the Beat Generation. She is derided as “milking” her brief relationship with Kerouac. The irony is that her book, Minor Characters, brought to light some of the experiences of the women of the Beat...

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Beatdom 12 ~ The Crime Issue ~ Coming Soon!!!
Oct16

Beatdom 12 ~ The Crime Issue ~ Coming Soon!!!

Yes, friends, Beatdom Issue Twelve is on it’s way and today we unveil the cover, featuring the lovely Zeena Schreck – who was kind enough to contribute this wonderful photo for the cover, as well as a short monologue (meant for stage) which she wrote at about the same time the photo was taken. “I thought they’d compliment each other in a film-noirish type way, for a crime-theme. I hope you like it,” she...

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Poetess and Patriarch
Mar01

Poetess and Patriarch

An exploration of female Beat writers and their involvement with the second-wave feminist movement ‘American literature is male. Our literature neither leaves women alone nor allows them to participate… It is not surprising that in it the experience of being American is equated with the experience of being male.’ Judith Fetterley – The Resisting Reader (1978) This introductory quote by Judith Fetterley has been chosen for its...

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