Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Beatnik Goes On

Before there were hippies, there were Beatniks. Beatniks were followers of the Beat Generation - influential poets and authors through the late 1940s to the early '60s. Jack Kerouac came up with the "beat generation" concept - the underground, anti-conformist youth gathering in New York that he was a part of. He also related the term to the Biblical beatitudes and the hipster phrase of being "beaten down". Though at first Beatniks had a prophet-like connotation, the term came to signify a stereotype of people that, as Joyce Johnson (a Beat writer) said: "sold books, sold black turtleneck sweaters and bongos, berets and dark glasses, sold a way of life that seemed like dangerous fun—thus to be either condemned or imitated." They were anti-materialistic, soul searching people, open to drugs and a bohemian lifestyle. They hung out in smoky coffeehouses, listened to jazz and blues, were usually proficient in art or poetry, liked to dress in all-black, and had an air of mysteriousness about them. They highly influenced culture of the decades following - Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd took on Beatnik characteristics and morphed in to free-thinking hippies. Allen Ginsberg led the way for the conversion.

(Photos from Corbis and TFS.)


Alexis said...

such a great post! i love beatniks and the whole beat generation. great choice on your first photo - i've always loved that pic of astrid and stu together... stu had such style! haha

Lucia said...

BRILLIANT! i love the beatnik subculture. i did a post about beatniks when i first started my blog actually. the beat generation is my absolute favourite. i love everything about it. it's always good to find a fellow person who's also stuck in the wrong era. xx

karen said...

Please take a look at the trailer for our new film, RENEGADE DREAMERS. It focuses on the Beat poets and folk singers that came out of the Greenwich Village coffee house scene.....and the hip new generation that has been influenced by them