Merely Being There Is Not Enough: Women's Roles in Autobiographical Texts by Female Beat Writers (Google eBook)

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Universal-Publishers, May 1, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 196 pages
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Despite the advent of second wave feminism in the late 1960s, it took more than twenty years before feminist literary criticism started to pay attention to the complex role of women Beat writers. Merely Being There Is Not Enough theorizes the memoirs of Diane di Prima, Joyce Johnson, Hettie Jones, and Brenda Frazer, and analyzes their contributions to the Beat movement. Among the writings of female Beat authors, the memoir has become the most commonly used literary genre. At the height of the Beat movement, Frazer published Troia: Mexican Memoirs in 1969, the same year that saw the publication of di Prima s Memoirs of a Beatnik . Most female Beat voices, however, remained astonishingly silent until 1983, when Johnson published Minor Characters: A Young Woman s Coming of Age in the Beat Generation . Johnson s long-time friend Jones followed with How I Became Hettie Jones in 1990. The memoirs of Beat women chronicle the Beat-1950s and the intimate relationships with icons of the time: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, and Ray Bremser. Being there at a crucial moment in history validates female Beats stories as indispensable social documents of the 1950s. To make women Beat writers visible and to categorize their memoirs, this work immerses in the almost paradoxical project of defining a category of female Beat writing when it is the nature of Beat literature and its rebellious aesthetics to dismiss any kind of labeling. Women Beats unsettle the categories of Beat writing and culture: Therefore, a revision and re-examination of Beat history is inevitable to understand the movement s literary expression.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Historical Background
4
22 Truman McCarthy and the Cold War
7
Women in the 1950s
10
32 Bad Girls
13
Women Beats Life Writing The Memoir Genre
17
Sexual Identity Notions of Sexuality in Beat Times
28
Diane di Primas Memoirs of a Beatnik
34
713 The Kerouac Johnson Connection
80
714 The Process of Writing a Memoir
83
72 Hettie Jones How I Became Hettie Jones
84
722 Setting up Scenes
89
723 Jones ComingofAge
95
724 Past Places in How I Became Hettie Jones
104
73 Reader Identification with Minor Characters and How I Became Hettie Jones
110
74 Categorizing Johnsons and Jones Memoirs
116

61 Shocking Details
36
612 More than just Friends?
38
613 City Spring and Country Summer
41
614 Luke
43
62 Real or Made up Orgasms? Reality Versus Fiction
45
63 Towards a Categorization of Memoirs
51
64 Diane di Prima A Female Neal Cassady?
59
Joyce Johnson and Hettie Jones Confide in me
64
71 Joyce Johnsons Minor Characters
65
Elise Cowen 19331962
67
712 Distorted Memory and Fluid Time
70
Brenda Frazers For Love of Ray
125
81 Frazers Forced Textual Self
128
82 The Outlaw Prostitute
132
83 Baby Rach
143
Frazers Kerouacian Romantic Primitivism
148
85 Narrative Devices Language and Categorization
153
86 Drugs Sex and the Bremsers Spiritual Love
162
Conclusion
170
Works Cited
i
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