Hard to Be a Saint in the City: The Spiritual Vision of the Beats

Hard to Be a Saint in the City: The Spiritual Vision of the Beats

by Robert Inchausti

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Overview

An exploration of Beat spirituality--seen through excerpts from the writings of the seminal writers of Beat Generation themselves.

It’s been said that Jack Kerouac made it cool to be a thinking person seeking a spiritual experience. And there is no doubt that the writers he knew and inspired—iconic figures like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and Michael McClure—were thinkers seeking exactly that. In this re-claiming of their vision, Robert Inchausti explores the Beat canon to reveal that the movement was at heart a spiritual one. It goes deeper than the Buddhism with which many of the key figures became identified. It’s about their shared perception of an existence in which the Divine reveals itself in the ordinary. Theirs is a spirituality where real life triumphs over airy ideals and personal authenticity becomes both the content and the vehicle for a kind of refurbished American Transcendentalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611804171
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,162,978
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

ROBERT INCHAUSTI, PhD, is a professor of English at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is the author of numerous books, including Subversive OrthodoxyThomas Merton's American ProphecyThe Spitwad Sutras, and Breaking the Cultural Trance. He is, among other things, a Thomas Merton authority, and editor of the Merton books Echoing SilenceSeeds, and The Pocket Thomas Merton. He's a lover of the literature of those who challenge the status quo in various ways, thus, he has had a lifelong fascination with the Beats.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction 1

1 Moloch Whose Eyes Are a Thousand Blind Windows: How Do the Beats See the Spirit of Our Age? 7

2 The Universe Is the Messiah: What Is the Beat Response to the Spirit of Our Age? 15

3 After Every Civilization Runs Its Course, These Is a Return to Mystery: Who Were the Beats? 25

4 The Buddha Reborn as Shakespeare: Who Was Jack Kerouac? 47

5 Meditation Looks Inward, Poetry Holds Forth: Is There a Beat Way of Writing? 57

6 Belief and Technique for Modern Prose: What Is Bop Spontaneous Prose? 81

7 Absorb All Beautiful Systems to Further Systemlessness: Is There a Beat Way of Knowing? 101

8 A Warm Idea for the Cool Void: How Do the Beats Conceive of the Divine? 117

9 Listening to the Silence inside the Illusion of the World: Are there Beat Spiritual Practices? 129

10 The Spontaneous Affirmations of the Fellaheen: Where Can We See the New Consciousness? 141

11 The Sympathetic Magic of Paleolithic Altars: Why Are the Beats Interested in Prehistory? 151

12 Chronicles of Choiceless Awareness: Is There a Beat Way of Living? 161

Who's Who 175

Acknowledgments 181

Credits 183

Notes 187

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