American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation
As he follows the genesis and the evolution of Howl, Jonah Raskin constructs a vivid picture of a poet and an era. He illuminates the development of Beat poetry in New York and San Francisco in the 1950s--focusing on historic occasions such as the first reading of Howl at Six Gallery in San Francisco in 1955 and the obscenity trial over the poem's publication. He looks closely at Ginsberg's life, including his relationships with his parents, friends, and mentors, while he was writing the poem and uses this material to illuminate the themes of madness, nakedness, and secrecy that pervade Howl.
A captivating look at the cultural climate of the Cold War and at a great American poet, American Scream finally tells the full story of Howla rousing manifesto for a generation and a classic of twentieth-century literature.
"American Scream...seeks successfully, refreshingly to restore attention to Ginsberg's masterwork, a 3,600-word three-part salvo that shook the world of poetry, as well as the world of Postwar America. A masterful synthesis. Raskin unearths a wealth of new material and insight [and] manages to maintain the perfect balance of subjective enthusiasm and appreciation with an objective distance and clarity...Raskin performs an admirable act of literary restoration, crafting a proper appreciation for 'Howl' and its placement within the canon of 20th century American literature.--Andrew Roe, "San Francisco Chronicle"
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