The Beats

BookThe Beats

The Beats

A Teaching Companion

Clemson University Press: Beat Studies


March 11th, 2021

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This volume addresses integrating into the classroom Beat authors, texts, and themes associated with Beat writing, generally dated from the early 1950s to 1964-65, when the major social justice movements in the United States began to tear apart the fabric of post war containment culture and Hippie counterculture became a dominant movement. The book provides a robust foundation for discussions of the continued relevance of Beat literature in educational settings.

The volume’s 22 essays are divided into six domains: 1) Foundational Issues, 2) Beat Literary Genres, 3) Beat Literary Topics, 4) Beat Lineages and Legacies, 5) Selected Resources, and 6) Sample Assignments. The volume presents a blending of authors and subject matters representative of current styles and methods of Beat scholarship. Literature-focused pedagogies dominate, but course materials and perspectives relative to history, composition theory and practice, religious studies, art history, film studies, and other cross-curricular courses are also represented. The sequencing of each part is hierarchical only in the sense that Part 1 is intended to be read first, since topics in that section speak to key practices and traditions undergirding Beat history and the teaching of Beat writing in general. The volume concludes with sample classroom assignments and examination prompts by Beat scholars.

Author Information

Nancy M. Grace is the Virginia Myers Professor of English (emerita) at The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio USA), where she taught Beat literature, James Joyce’s Ulysses, journalism, and women’s and gender studies. Her current research projects include studies of (1) the environmental correspondences between the works of Black Mountain poet Charles Olson and Beat poet Diane di Prima and (2) the pedagogical practices of Beat writers including Hettie Jones, Janine Pommy Vega, and Ed Sanders. She also co-edits (with Ronna C. Johnson) The Journal of Beat Studies (Pace University Press) and The Beat Studies Book Series (Clemson University Press/Liverpool University Press).