How is the literature of the Beat Generation considered in the academia, by literature experts?

For instance, is it considered as a major movement, or a minor one? Kerouac wanted to become the new Proust: are his writings seen as good as Proust’s?

Beat Generation:

The Beat Generation was a literary subculture movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era.[1] The bulk of their work was published and popularized by Silent Generationers in the 1950s, better known as Beatniks. The central elements of Beat culture are the rejection of standard narrative values, making a spiritual quest, the exploration of American and Eastern religions, the rejection of economic materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.[2][3]

Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959), and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.


  • I think there's an interesting question here - I've been pondering some of these issues myself - but IMO right now this is a bit broad. Can you focus it a bit on particular aspects of how beat literature is studied in academia?
    – Matt Thrower
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 11:20
  • @Thanks. What do you mean by “how it is studied”?
    – Starckman
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 11:29
  • I don't know - that's kind of the problem with your question. I don't know what it is you want to uncover here?
    – Matt Thrower
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 11:34
  • 1
    It is not rare that in papers introduction or in encyclopedic articles concerning one literary movement, it is recalled what it the general view held on the legacy and quality of a movement
    – Starckman
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 11:38
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Starckman
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 12:47


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