'Beat It' : The Beat Generation and Mainstream Acceptance


ZITA Antonín

Rok publikování 2015
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The group of authors known as the Beat Generation was vilified by a significant portion of the public and critics; Norman Podhoretz, writing in the late fifties, famously called the Beats and their supporters as being "against intelligence itself" (318). The media attention not only lead to a hysterical discussion of youth’s morals, but also spawned a caricature of the Beats and what they represented – the beatnik. Soon after entering the spotlight, the Beats were marginalized and ignored by the popular media and academia alike. However, the Beats reentered the mainstream culture later in the century by earning recognition for representing the first counterculture movement, helping pave the way for the civil rights movement, and experimenting with literary forms. The Beats made their breakthrough in the academia as well: ever since Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari mentioned the Beats in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the writers became the subjects of a revived academic interest. Currently, numerous courses on the Beats are being taught and new editions of Beat literature are being published. The Beats have been assimilated into the mass culture. One question that needs to be asked is: How exactly did this happen? The proposed paper will discuss the Beat Generation writers in terms of popular and academic reception from two different time periods: mid-twentieth century and today. Basing the theoretical foundations on the works of Stanley Fish and Stuart Hall, the paper will discuss the initial resistance as well as the current acceptance through the lens of assimilation, claiming that while the Beats were simply too different and controversial in the fifties, the change of values in the general society due to the civil rights movement made assimilation and subsequent appropriation and commodification possible.
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