English N166

Special Topics: The Beat Generation

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2010 Ron Loewinsohn
TTh 2-4 229 Dwinelle

Other Readings and Media

Allen Ginsberg: Howl and Other Poems; Kaddish; William Burroughs: Junky; Naked Lunch; Jack Kerouac: On The Road; Gary Snyder: No Nature


This course will examine major works (mostly the early stuff) by four central figures of the Beat Generation-- Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, W.S. Burroughs, and Gary Snyder.  First we'll survey the literary/historical context in which these writers formed themselves, their visions and their styles.  How do they continue important traditions, even as they rebel against them?  We'll pay close attention to the differences as well as the similarities between these four, as well as the outside influences on them.  Among other things, we'll examine their notions of spontaneity and authenticity, and the influence on them of "foreign" cultures. 

Requirements:   Class requirements: two short papers (each counting for 30% of your grade) and a final exam (counting for the remaining 40% of your grade).

This course is taught in Session C, from June 21st to August 13th.

Back to Semester List