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The Beats

A Teaching Companion

Edited by Nancy McCampbell Grace

This companion provides models and resources for integrating authors, texts, and themes associated with Beat writing, generally dated from the early 1950s to 1965, when the major social justice movements in the United States began to tear apart the fabric of postwar 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 twenty-two essays are divided into six sections: 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 the companion also includes course materials and perspectives relative to history, composition theory and practice, religious studies, art history, film studies, and other interdisciplinary courses.

“Grace’s collection contains a range of insightful close readings, astute contextualizing, and inventive lateral pedagogical thinking, charting the transformation of the Beat scene from its free-wheeling, self-help, heady revolutionary 1960’s days to its contemporary position as an increasingly respectable component of the curriculum. . . . The Beats: A Teaching Companion is successful on a number of levels; it is a noteworthy contribution to the ever-expanding field of Beat studies and, more broadly, cultural studies; and it is a collection that at its best gives hope that in referring to its ideas the inspired teacher may still be able to enlarge the lives of his/her students.”
—John Shapcott, The European Beat Studies Network

About the Editor

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).

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Pages: 416 pages

Published: March 2021


ISBN: 978-1-94997-995-4

ISBN: 978-1-94997-996-1




Beat Studies Series