Naked Angels: The Lives and Literature of the Beat Generation

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9781566636834: Naked Angels: The Lives and Literature of the Beat Generation

Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs?their emergence in the late 1950s as the leading figures of the Beat movement marked one of the most spectacular developments in post-World War II American literature. John Tytell's classic study examines their attempt to redefine a complacent society's notion of sanity and normalcy and to reinvent their own lives through jazz, drugs, and law-breaking, acts that ultimately led to new forms of expression. A fascinating blend of literary and social criticism, history, and biography, Naked Angels is an indispensable introduction to the lives and work of these seminal figures, and an unsurpassed look at the powerful influence they had on the 1960s and beyond.

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About the Author:

John Tytell is professor of English at Queens College (CUNY) and the author of Ezra Pound, Reading New York, Paradise Outlaws, The Living Theatre, and Passionate Lives. He lives in New York City.

Review:

The definitive history of the 'beat generation.' (Leon Edel)

Strong, urgent, ultimately thrilling.... In some 250 packed pages of text [Tytell] misses very little, unfolding his subjects' stories in detailed social and historical context and, separately, analyzing their art. Of particular usefulness is his careful tracing of the Beats' intellectual roots, their spiritual and literary influences. (The New York Times)

A thoroughly readable and persuasive work that will take its place at the center of studies of literature [of these years]. (Thomas Parkinson American Literature)

Energy, conviction, and unexpected brilliance. (The New Yorker)

An essential book. (John Clellon Holmes)

As fine a view as we are likely to get of this vibrant phase in American literary history. (Chicago Sun-Times)

The culturally soporific 1950d fairly screamed out for new ideas and ways of looking at the world. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs were only too glad to oblige and, even though they're now gone, they're clearly left their imprint on their times and even ours. This collection of writings blends history, biography, and social and literary criticism, as Tytell relates to a new generation the emergence of the Beat movement. (Steve Goddard's History Wire)

Any studying American literature, especially modern literary trends, will want to include John Tytell's Naked Angels: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs on their reading list for a lively biographical series of sketches offering insights ino the lives and history of some of the beat contributors to American writing. Newcomers especially will appreciate an introduction to these major figures which assumes no prior knowledge, but assesses their personalities, achievements, and the atmosphere of their times. (Midwest Book Review)

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