English Literature – Reading Lists

Choose 1 text from the list and complete your reading report.

/ THEME /

L’ECRIVAIN DANS SON SIECLE

/ QUESTIONS /

How and what do Beat writers criticize their time?

How revolutionary are they?

If you were a Beatnik today, what would you do?

/ READING LIST /

/ Poems /

– [Extracts from Howl], (1955) by Allen Ginsberg, (1926 – 1997).

Allen Ginsberg was one of the leading icons of the Beat movement, and “Howl” became one of the most widely read book of poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages. By exposing his own emotional core to the world in this poem, Ginsberg inspired many other artists to do the same. “

– [The Whole Mess … Almost], (1973) by Gregory Corso (1930 – 2001)

– War Profit Litany, (1967) by Allen Ginsberg, (1926 – 1997).

This collection sums up the whole Beat generation.This is Ginsberg’s National Book Award-winning collection of poems that he wrote during the years 1965-1971. These pieces follow Ginsberg’s travels all over the world, as he visits his old Beat friends. By this time, they’ve all kind of gone their separate ways. Ginsberg was with the hippies; Kerouac was killing himself with alcohol; Snyder was in Japan; and Burroughs was God knows where. So you could say that this collection was Ginsberg’s eulogy to his friends, and what they attempted to do in the Beat Movement.”

http://www.shmoop.com/beat-literature/texts.html

– Velocity Of Money, (1986) by Allen Ginsberg, (1926 – 1997).

When Ginsberg published the poem, the US stock market dropped 22.68% on one of the most infamous dates in the market’s history – “Black Monday.” So, Ginsberg’s criticism of capitalism is heavy. What we have not learned is how to live our lives without money being such an integral factor. Ginsberg correlates money to prostitution, gambling, interest, and even material un-necessities.”

http://slaughterhousevonnegut.blogspot.fr/2008/04/ginsberg-velocity-of-money.html

– Extracts from If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?, (1960) by Philip Whalen (1923–2002)

Philip Whalen is often labelled a “Beat poet” because he enjoyed his first creative achievement during the years when Beat literature thrived. Whalen is generally considered one of the pioneering forces behind the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the mid-1950s. The author’s work differs from much Beat writing in its reverential treatment of the mundane, its self-deprecating humor, Christensen states “an original troubadour and thinker who refused to take himself too seriously during the great revival of visionary lyric in American poetry.” The critic adds: “Like so much Beat literature, Whalen’s poem seeks to convey the speed and multiphasic complexity of the alert mind; it explores the speed of thought itself as it races through its labyrinth of channels.”

/ Extracts from novels /

– [Extract from On The Road] by Jack Kerouac. From On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – August 26, 2008

Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.”

/ Articles & Essays /

– John Clellon Holmes, This is the Beat Generation (1952)

This is the article that brought the term Beat into the American zeitgeist. It was a kind of manifesto that laid out the Beat ideals… or at least the former American ideals the Beats were aiming to destroy.“

– Allen Ginsberg, “The Art of Poetry No. 8” (1966)

In this interview, Ginsberg explains why he can’t really explain how he writes poetry. His chat with Thomas Clark is refreshingly un-academic, while still providing us with some nice insight into his writing. And his life.”

[studied in class.]

/ Novel & Short stories /

– Lonesome Traveler

A collection of short stories and sketches by American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac, published in 1960. It is a compilation of Kerouac’s journal entries about traveling the United States, Mexico, Morocco, the United Kingdom and France, and covers similar issues to his novels, such as relationships, various jobs, and the nature of his life on the road. Some of the stories originally appeared as magazine articles.

– William Burroughs, The Soft Machine (1961), Chapter VII.

The Soft Machine is a 1961 novel by American author William S. Burroughs. It was originally composed using the cut-up technique partly from manuscripts belonging to The Word Hoard. It is the first part of The Nova Trilogy. Chapter VII, The Mayan Caper. This chapter portrays a secret agent who has the ability to change bodies or metamorphose his own body using “U.T.” (undifferentiated tissue).

– Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.”

bookreport

poemreport

nonfictionreport

beat-reading-list.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s