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Lecture 11

Political Science 2142A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: City Lights Bookstore, Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac


Department
Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2142A/B
Professor
Alison Meek
Lecture
11

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LECTURE – THE BEATS, BRANDO AND DEAN
THE BEAT MOVEMENT
oThe Beats themselves – men and women who made up movement- men and women
born in late 1920s/30s who came of age during WW2 – leaders of the Baby Boom
people who create this movement
Began to resent this culture of consensus and fear that was developing
Two centres – west coast and east coast
SANFRAN – City Lights Bookstore
oBookstore that hosted some of the cool jazz performances, poetry
readings, etc.
oHad its own publishing house – publishing materials by many artists
that big companies wouldn’t touch
oAllen Ginsberg – poet
Jewish, liberal, bisexual – flew in the face of 1950s wasp
America
Famous poem – “Howl’ – published by City Lights,
challenges military industrial complex, McCarthyism and the
Cold War, etc.
Uses very graphic language – done deliberately
oObscenity charges 1959 – charged because of
language used, made its way to the supreme
court (Earl Warren), ruled in favour of the
Bookstore
Decision – words in and of themselves
are not obscene – simply a word,
protected under the first amendment
Turning point in culture of fear
GREENWICH VILLAGE – EAST COAST
oHomosexuality – big part of the culture
oMiddle-class suburbia – born into privilege
oUniversity attendees
Columbia university
Dwight D. Eisenhower – president of the University
Group – wanted nothing to do with politics – doesn’t
think America is worth saving
oRejects marriage – some het., some bi/gay –
flaunted and celebrated
oRejects religion – power that the protestant
church has over America
oSpiritual – first to embrace and popularize
Buddhism, Zen, etc.
Personal, individualistic
oEmbraces African Americans – ironically
thought they were the freest Americans
because they weren’t wedded down by White
culture
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