Ecstasy of the Beats: On the Road to Understanding
Dundurn, 2007 M09 30 - 317 pages
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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Though my neighbor Dave (David Creighton, author and resident of next town west on the L Ontario shoreline) and is clearly a fan of Kerouac et al, his connections to the writers are tenuous, including as a come-on, posing at an El Paso (a place the core Beats would never have been seen dead in) shop on the back cover with an Elvis Presley mannequin. Nevertheless, appears a likeable guy to chat with over a drink and discuss the merits of luggage-free travel.
RAGGED AND ECSTATIC JOY Denver 1940s
A PLANK WHERE ALL THE ANGELS DOVE OFF San Francisco 1940s1960s
ROUGH AND HARD AND EXTREME Mexico 1950s1960s
NOT AKIN TO LUSTFUL THOUGHTS Europe and Africa 1950s1960s
CANADA WAS MY BOSOM OF GOD Quebec 1950s1960s and Early Years
DOWN INTO THE DARKS Southern United States 1940s1960s
EVERYTHING IS ECSTASY Central United States 1940s1990s
FIVE MILLION OF STARS Quebec and Toronto