EBSN members Benjamin J. Heal and Erik Mortenson are co-organizing a seminar titled “Beat Internationalism” for next year’s American Comparative Literature Association’s virtual conference (April 8-11 2021). If you are interested in submitting an abstract time is short – please follow the instructions to upload here by 31st October 2020: https://acla.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/2/sessiongallery
The Beat Generation as literary movement is usually regarded as quintessentially American, rooted in the great American tropes of free expression, border crossing and anti-materialism. Often overlooked in favor of other literary movements, this seminar proposes to look beyond the familiar figures of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs to investigate the relations between their works, aesthetics and techniques and those of Beat voices from across the globe. The shock waves of the radical poetics of Howl, publicized via the anti-obscenity court case, and the success of On the Road reverberated globally, and can be seen to form a foundation for experimental, politically radical works published around the world. Building on the developing and widening formulations of ‘Beat’ by scholars such as Jimmy Fazzino, this seminar will work towards a definition of ‘Beat Internationalism’ as applied to the works examined, and consider areas of convergence. More theoretical questions pertaining to the transnational turn in American literary studies, and the para-textual nature of Beat literature are also welcome. The Beat legacy continues to be felt across popular culture; with retrospectives and exhibitions featuring work by the Beats continuing to be a success. What do the Beats mean to contemporary audiences, and how are their techniques and styles employed in the works of contemporary writers and artists? How has the radicalism of the Beats manifested internationally?
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