Expatriates in Paris in the 1920’s, radical writers in the 1930’s, New York Intellectuals in the 1940’s, Beat in the 1950: these are just some of the subjects covered in Beats, Bohemians and Intellectuals. Ranging over several decades, but interlocking at all times, the essays look at almost forgotten novelists like Robert McAlmon and Isaac Rosenfeld, offer fresh views of poets such as Kenneth Patchen and Kenneth Fearing, investigate the world of critics Irving Howe and Alfred Kazin, and inspect the lives of both major beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder and more minor Beat writers. In between they touch on the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Greenwich Village as a bohemian centre, the early poetry of Charles Bukowski, the place of women in the Beat Literary canon, the curious life of the hipster idol, Lord Buckley and the role of little magazines in introducing new American writing to British readers. What is revealed by these essays is a vibrant and vital world of American literature and culture.
Jim Burns is a widely published poet and critic. His most recent collections of poems are Confessions of an Old Believer (Redbeck Press, 1966) and As good a Reason As Any (Redbeck Press, 1999).
The collection is edited by John Freeman.
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