Not ‘Beat,’ But Beaten: Charles Bukowski’s Uncertain Place in the ‘Beat Generation’ Legacy

Barker, Craig (2017) Not ‘Beat,’ But Beaten: Charles Bukowski’s Uncertain Place in the ‘Beat Generation’ Legacy. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Upon their rise to literary prominence in the late 1950’s the ‘Beat Generation’ writers established themselves as an important American movement, and in the decades following the term ‘beat’ was ascribed to many similar writers. One such writer, grouped under this label, was Charles Bukowski, and my dissertation examines the extent to which we can consider the German-born American poet to be ‘beat,’ given his own assertions that he was not, during a 1982 interview. By comparing and contrasting Charles Bukowski to the three primary beat figures – Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs – a place can be found for the writer, albeit not one directly within the ‘beat’ sphere. The focus shall primarily be on Ginsberg and Kerouac. Areas of interest will include outsider literature, the American dream, the world of work, and the influence of narcotics on each writer. My aim is to establish Bukowski as separate from the ‘Beats’ while highlighting areas of overlap. I argue that Charles Bukowski was not a ‘beat’ writer, more a ‘beaten’ one, who ultimately falls under a large umbrella of ‘beat’ literature, hence his association with the wider movement. Bukowski, ultimately, shares traits with the three key writers, but was tied more to the multifaceted implications of the term ‘beat’ than to the literary movement itself, and close analysis shall support this notion.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) English Literature
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Departments > English and Creative Writing
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2017 10:14
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2017 10:14

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