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Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution
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Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution


The Beat Generation created an American revolution in literature and culture that transformed the mid-twentieth century. The Beats helped make literature a democracy. All one needed, they believed, was passion and a love of the written word. The names of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and William Burroughs and their friends are well known to the reading public at large, and on its face the beat movement appears to have been an exclusively male phenomenon. But the Beat movement's publicity did not necessarily reflect the reality of its literature and spirit. This singular book is devoted to contributions of women to the body and spirit of the Beat revolution.

The women included in this anthology run the gamut from the famous---Carolyn Cassady and Jan Kerouac-to the relatively undiscovered-Mary Fabilli and Helen Adam. The art, prose, and poetry selected represent the full range and development of their work.

The women whose work is featured in this anthology were talented rebels with enough courage and creative spirit to turn their backs on "the good life" that the fifties promised and forge their way to San Francisco and Greenwich Village. They dared to attempt to create lives of their own and make their own way.

Today an unprecedented amount of brilliant, imaginative and highly experimental writing by women is being recognized and applauded. This anthology looks back to the antecedents for this greater liberty of expression. It is a testament to the lives of the women who helped shape the Beat era. Together, their voices form an energetic force field of consciousness that manifested at a rich and difficult time in cultural history.

Women of the Beat Generation profiles 40 women --Precursors, Muses
Writers, and Artists-including Elise Cowen, Diane di Prima, Hettie Jones, Joan Vollmer Burroughs, Jan Kerouac, Jane Bowles, Carolyn Cassady, Edie Parker Kerouac
Eileen Kaufman, Joyce Johnson, Denise Levertov, Brenda Frazer, Anne Waldman, Jay DeFeo, Joan Brown, and many others

Women of the Beat Generation highlights the lives and work of these female iconoclasts, and ensures the world will not forget their contributions to its transformation.

Title:Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

    Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution Reviews

  • Heather
    Oct 11, 2008

    This book was recommended to me when I worked for William Burroughs Communications. Oh, how I could relate, having been around artist junkies and wandering poets and moody, irrational alcoholic genius...

  • Alicia
    Jul 16, 2008

    From a social/historical perspective, this book has done something rare: focus on the women of the 50s-60s Beat era. Turns out they were just as intriguing and artistic and productively conflicted as ...

  • Jennifer
    Jan 22, 2013

    "who will slap my backside when i am born again?"...

  • Kerfe
    Jun 16, 2015

    Knight chronicles female mentors, inspirations, activists, wives, and girlfriends of the more well-known Beat Generation men, as well as the women (often overlapping) who also wrote, performed, taught...

  • Amos
    Aug 03, 2008

    When I was driving cross country at 19 years old my shitty Hyundai broke down permanently in the smallest most unfortunate town ever in Mississippi. Most of these people didn't have phones in their ho...

  • H. Palmer Hall
    Apr 22, 2008

    Women of the Beat Generation is essential reading for anyone who is intrigued by Beat writing. Most of the material is a combination of biographical and creative work by the women who hung out with, m...

  • Willa Grant
    Oct 21, 2009

    This is a fabulous book about a specific time in America. I really liked it though it made me sad & so aware of mortality, mine & everyone else's. The women written about in this book were so young & ...

  • Sally Plouffe writerr
    Jul 30, 2014

    LOVED this! ...

  • Charmaine E. Pooh
    Mar 09, 2017

    Such a great collection of biographies and works of the women who comprised and inspired the Beat movement. Would highly recommend for any one who enjoys biographies, poetry, or feminist literature. ...

  • Mel
    Jul 24, 2011

    An interesting collection that contains brief biographies of the women in the Beat scene and either writing about them, or samples of their own work. There are a lot of women covered here and the defi...