Ecstasy of the Beats: On the Road to Understanding

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Dundurn, Sep 30, 2007 - Art - 320 pages
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Who were the beats? Not the sandle-clad "beatniks" of popular lore but dedicated writers, experimenters, skit improvisers, theorizers, hedonists, close friends, bisexual free lovers, shapers of the future. The beats hung out at Columbia university and cheap Times Square cafeterias, devouring ideas. David Creighton shows how the world has taken up their message. In Ecstasy of the Beats he gives a fresh portrait of Carolyn Cassady, "Queen of the Beats," and of the four major Beat writers.

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road gave a pattern of adventure to restless youth, Allen Ginsberg donned a prophet’s robe by writing Howl, William Burroughs warned against control mechanisms in Naked Lunch, and Neal Cassady’s high-energy life made him an icon of freedom. Travelling widely to see where they lived, Creighton enriches the meaning of On the Road and other Beat classics. He invites the reader on the Beats’ journey toward ever-deeper levels of understanding and provides interesting insight into Kerouacs French-Canadian roots.

 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
9
A ROAD TRIP A ROAD TRIP Manhattan 2007
11
GO FOR BROKE Bracknell England 2005
15
PUT UP YOUR DUKES AND WRITE New York City 1940s
29
RAGGED AND ECSTATIC JOY Denver 1940s
53
A PLANK WHERE ALL THE ANGELS DOVE OFF San Francisco 1940s1960s
71
ROUGH AND HARD AND EXTREME Mexico 1950s1960s
101
NOT AKIN TO LUSTFUL THOUGHTS Europe and Africa 1950s1960s
117
CANADA WAS MY BOSOM OF GOD Quebec 1950s1960s and Early Years
211
DOWN INTO THE DARKS Southern United States 1940s1960s
227
EVERYTHING IS ECSTASY Central United States 1940s1990s
241
FIVE MILLION OF STARS Quebec and Toronto
265
Chronology
275
Family Trees
281
Maps
285
Suggested Reading and Viewing
293

THE PERFECT ECSTASY Lowell 1920s to Present
135
GOLDEN ASH BLISSFUL EMPTINESS New England 1890s1960s
161
IT WAS PURE IN MY HEART New Jersey and New York 1920s1990s
175

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About the author (2007)

David Creighton wrote two books and Losing the Empress(Dundurn), about the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, which led to a role in Robert Ballard's PBS documentary Lost Liners. He likes to travel luggage-free, staying in offbeat places like Amsterdam's Hotel Brian, but otherwise lives with his wife, Judy, in Burlington, Ontario.

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