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Jonah Raskin: Books and Reviews

Allen Ginsbergs's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation


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When shy, soft-spoken 29-year-old Allen Ginsberg appeared before an audience at San Francisco’s Six Gallery on the evening of October 7, 1955, he was virtually unknown, but the unpublished poem he (with mounting fervor) read would propel him to fame with the suddenness and inevitability of Byron. By the time of Ginsberg’s death in 1997, "Howl" had sold 800,00 copies, and the incendiary, visionary poem is now the subject of Sonoma State professor Raskin’s thorough, accessible history. The strength of Raskin’s book is the balance it strikes between the personal drama of the poem’s composition and reception and the unfolding background of its historical circumstance.. . .

© 2012 Jonah Raskin