n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - "Confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought" : a reading of Allen Ginsberg's Beat poetry : research article

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



Much critical writing about the Beat Movement has focused on the strong interrelationship between the literary and social discourses within and around the movement. However, the study of Beat literature also necessitates an awareness of its position within the literary discourse of the twentieth century. Beat writing may be seen as standing in the unstable, shifting territory between two equally unstable, shifting literary movements: modernism and postmodernism. Beat poetry pits itself against high modernism and the New Critical tradition, draws upon some aspects of early avant-garde modernism, and simultaneously remoulds these aspects into what may be regarded as the beginnings of postmodernism in the USA. This article presents a reading of Allen Ginsberg's Beat poetry against this literary-historical background. A brief general overview of some of the key characteristics of Beat poetry is given, followed by a discussion of a number of Beat poems, organised around some salient features of Ginsberg's Beat poetry that may be linked to Beat poetry's position in the transition from modernism to postmodernism.

Kritiese bydraes oor die Beatbeweging fokus dikwels op die sterk verwantskap tussen die literêre en sosiale diskoerse binne sowel as rondom die beweging. Die studie van Beatletterkunde vereis egter ook 'n bewustheid van die beweging se posisie binne die literêre diskoers van die twintigste eeu. Beatpoësie kan beskou word as deel van die onstabiele, veranderlike terrein tussen twee ewe onstabiele, veranderlike literêre bewegings : modernisme en postmodernisme. Beatpoësie verwerp die tradisies van hoogmodernisme en die New Criticism, gryp terug na aspekte van vroeë avant garde-modernisme, en word terselfdertyd deel van wat beskou kan word as die oorsprong van postmodernisme in die VSA. Hierdie artikel behels 'n interpretasie van Allen Ginsberg se Beatpoësie teen hierdie literêr-historiese agtergrond. 'n Kort oorsig van die kerneienskappe van Beatpoësie word verskaf, waarna enkele Beat-gedigte bespreek word aan die hand van belangrike eienskappe van Ginsberg se Beatpoësie wat gekoppel kan word aan die posisie van Beatpoësie in die oorgang van modernisme na postmodernisme.

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