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Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution
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Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  734 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The Beat Generation created an American revolution in literature and culture that transformed the mid-twentieth century. The Beats helped make literature a democracy. All one needed, they believed, was passion and a love of the written word. The names of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and William Burroughs and their friends are well known to the reading public ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Fine Communications (first published 1996)
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Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy TanThe Green Mile by Stephen KingThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerIncidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet JacobsThe Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
Reading is like water… everyone needs it.
33rd out of 94 books — 6 voters
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10th out of 17 books — 7 voters


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Community Reviews

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Alicia
From a social/historical perspective, this book has done something rare: focus on the women of the 50s-60s Beat era. Turns out they were just as intriguing and artistic and productively conflicted as their popular male counterparts. 'Bout time someone acknowledged this...
Jennifer
"who will slap my backside
when i am born again?"
Amos
When I was driving cross country at 19 years old my shitty Hyundai broke down permanently in the smallest most unfortunate town ever in Mississippi. Most of these people didn't have phones in their homes and it didn't help that this was a pre-cellphone era (for me at least). After finding a payphone I remember locking myself in the car waiting for Triple-A to show up while several townies circled me like buzzards. I remember reading this book while locked in the car and then finishing it on the ...more
H. Palmer Hall
Women of the Beat Generation is essential reading for anyone who is intrigued by Beat writing. Most of the material is a combination of biographical and creative work by the women who hung out with, made love to, served as muses for the male writers who have dominated Beat studies. The major exception to the Beats Women's Auxiliary Association contained in the book is Denise Levertov who is an outstanding writer independent of anyone she hung out with. There are other fine writers in the group: ...more
Willa Grant
Oct 21, 2009 Willa Grant rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fiona, Megan (both of 'em)
This is a fabulous book about a specific time in America. I really liked it though it made me sad & so aware of mortality, mine & everyone else's. The women written about in this book were so young & beautiful & brilliant & it made me feel just how quickly our lives are over. I learned a lot about the Beats & the Beat women that I didn't know as it all happened just as I was being born. A really nifty look at the wave that preceeded the hippy era.
Heather
Oct 16, 2008 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Louella, Victoria, Annie
Recommended to Heather by: James Grauerholz
This book was recommended to me when I worked for William Burroughs Communications. Oh, how I could relate, having been around artist junkies and wandering poets and moody, irrational alcoholic geniuses - while not seeing my female friends or myself championed as self destructive heroines. These women write about the life of US, the women who were also in those circles of creative insanity, putting up with violent, lazy, thieving, cheating men who said they loved us. Throughout history the lives ...more
Mel
An interesting collection that contains brief biographies of the women in the Beat scene and either writing about them, or samples of their own work. There are a lot of women covered here and the definition of "beat" seems to extend to anyone on the fringe of the San Fransisco poetry scene of the 50s and 60s. I suppose Beat has as many different meanings as Goth. I wasn't much interested in the movement for a long time as I pictured people in turtle necks and berets reciting poetry over bongos. ...more
Paula
To me, this book is an encyclopedia of the women in the last biggest creative scene in America.

I loved reading about the predecessors of the Beat women, especially Madeleine Gleason. I was intrigued about the "Lost Generation". I'll probably look into this scene more later on.

I could relate to many of the women in this book. I saw in their stories my own story. There are lots of cool photos and even samples of the writers' works! I particularly loved reading about Joan Vollmer Adams Burroughs,
...more
Kathleen Hagen
Women of the Beat Generation, a compilation of short stories and poems written by women influenced by The Beat Generation. Some of the readings are by the authors themselves, while others are read by Deborah Winger. Produced by Audio Literature.

These women were in the forefront of authors brave enough to write what was true for them and to live unconventional lives. Some were lesbians in lesbian relationships. One was a White woman married to a Black man which separated her from her family, and
...more
Ruby
(basically this review is all about Knight's work, not on the women - from that point of view I think it is brilliant to have an anthology with a selection of work from a generation that has been so male-defined)

This book didn't gave me what I wanted from it (for an essay, for crying out loud), which always makes for the most disappointing reading, I suppose. Moreover, there were no (no!) sources, and conflicting information which I always find particularly worrisome as it makes you start to que
...more
Steve
This book serves as a nice, strong introduction to the Beat movement, and especially the women of the beat movement--tragic figures consumed by their artistic passions and ruined by either the men they loved (or thought they loved) or by their families that despised the idea that they did not conform to the Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best mentalities of the day.

Be forewarned. The book is a collection of short biographies ranging from two to four pages long, with a small collection of th
...more
peaseblossom
A kind of sampler of biography and works, some previously unpublished. It's a good introduction to a lot of artists, but it's broad, not deep.
Bill
After you've read On The Road, read about all the women that Jack and his buddies sort of ignore, being macho boys and all.
Publicartglo
Read this ages ago and continue to go back from time to time. Best Beat book ever and I've read a lot of them
Lauren
Jul 18, 2007 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of beat literature
This book tells of the Beat times from the perspectives of the women who a part of it, but were not as often heard-about. There were some influential woman poets, like Diane DiPrima, Denise Levertov, and Anne Waldman. They were more than groupies, but talented writers in their own right. There were many more than that, but I can't think of all of them. The book is sort of retroactive feministic in that tells the reader how women contribute to any major movement, just as men do, only in different ...more
Julie
Dec 02, 2013 Julie added it
This is a book that needed to be written, but I was disappointed by its brevity. It is an introductory read, personalities condensed into encyclopedic vignettes. It is obvious that Knight was allowed more access into certain character's lives than others.
Katie Schwartz
This book was so empowering and enlightening. I've always loved beat writers. Women of the Beat inspired the hell out of me. It's an exquisite, perfect read. I devoured it.
Krista
i got this for xmas and read most of it on a plane. pretty darn great and talks about something those talented, yet horribly selfish beat dudes needed but excluded--their women.
Marjorie
I am still haunted by some of the stories, and one tragic character in particular. Not a waste of time at all...
Amy
"I wanted to go at once, start on the morning of beginning, but I had lost all sense of direction"
Alison
some very important, cool ladies behind and along side some of the gents of the beat generation.
Miriam
liked the idea, wished it was less about who kerouac et al slept with.
Krista Skene
I read this a long time ago. I need to re-read it.
Lauren
An all around insulting and terrible book.
Joshua Oakley
Elizabeth Ann Cooper Collection
Aida
The 70's were gross.
Linda
Linda marked it as to-read
Dec 27, 2014
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  • Memoirs of a Beatnik
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