Beat Generation and the revolution of the American social landscape of the 50s
During the 50s, a group of authors opposed to the majority values emerged, a rebellion in the social landscape prevailing: the Beat Generation. They revolutionized him not only with his literature, but also with his lifestyle: hitchhiking, traveling without a fixed destination, listening to jazz in African-American venues or rejecting the censorship and conformism of the time. The term Beat (coined by themselves, according to Kerouac himself, the movement's greatest exponent) meant defeated and marginalized, but in reality it was an attitude of protest against the impositions of the time.
It is a cultural movement that revolutionized the American literary world: In the 50s in Europe there was a harsh post-war period, but in the United States there was great economic growth and the rise of the famous "American dream". But the beats they do not believe that happiness so apparently forced, as can be seen in the famous beginning of the poems "Howl", by Allen Ginsberg: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked […], hipsters angelic burning for the ancient celestial connection with the astral dynamo of the machinery of the night”. left the word untranslated hipster, echo that reaches our days with more presence than ever when talking about urban currents.
As key works of the movement they would be "In the path", de Kerouac, the aforementioned poem "Howl" de ginsberg o "Naked Lunch”, de Burroughs. The first has become a cult novel, and a classic of American literature. With an unmistakable bop style, Kerouac narrates the trips in Cadillacs touring the continent. Alcohol, orgies, drugs, anguish and desolation: the portrait of another America beyond the official one, authentic and uninhibited, alien to everything established.
La influencia Beat It was seen years later in sexual freedom, the fight against censorship, the evolution of pop and rock music and a pacifist attitude in society, and not only in narrative, but also in poetry, journalism, cinema (the road movies) or popular music. Authors like Ken Kesey, Paul Bowles and Thomas Pynchon, or musicians like John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen have acknowledged their debt to this movement. The Beats belonged to the generation of Charlie Parker or Billie Holliday, but they also gave wings to that of Bob Dylan or the Beatles.