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The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats
Allen Ginsberg, Edited by Bill Morgan
£25.00 hardback Penguin Books Ltd (Allen Lane) (2017)
A unique history of the Beats, in the words of the movement's most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures
In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem 'Howl' and Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through this course, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present a complete history of Beat Literature and also to record and preserve his own personal stories and memories, ones that might have otherwise been lost to history. The result was a deeply intimate, candid and illuminating set of lectures, which form the basis of this book. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, revealing the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries.
In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg gives us the convoluted origin story of the "Beat" idea, recounts anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other figures for the first time, elucidates the importance of music, and particularly jazz rhythms, to Beat writing, discusses their many influences - literary, pharmaceutical and spiritual - and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution.
A unique document that works both as historical record and unconventional memoir, The Best Minds of My Generation is a vivid, personal and eye-opening look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.
ISBN 13: 9780241187524 | ISBN 10: 0241187524
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