According to the critic Jack Sargeant, “Beat has a schizophrenic etymology. There are numerous manifestations of beat culture. The first - and most commonly recognized - is of the literary friendships which emerged in '40s New York between poet Allen Ginsberg and author Jack Kerouac, both of whom sought a way in which the written word, and art in general, could express the immediacy of lived experience.”
In this course we will examine various manifestations of American Beat literature, including jazz and the music of Bob Dylan. We will pay particular attention to the writings of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. You will do a lot of reading (and writing) in this class. In order to score well on your exams, you must keep up with the reading schedule (including any handouts).
? Appreciate and understand various types of literature
? Learn close reading, analysis, and criticism of a literary text
? Understand the social and historic forces in which literary texts are written and interpreted
The Portable Beat Reader (ed. Ann Charters)
The Portable Jack Kerouac Reader (ed. Ann Charters)
Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (ed. James Grauerholtz)
You will take three exams. The exam will consist of identification, multiple choice, and short essay questions. These exams are designed to test your critical reading of the assigned texts.
Since this class is centered on discussion, it is vital that you come to class prepared to participate. Make sure you have carefully read the assigned reading and are ready to ask questions and make comments. You will have the opportunity to participate in both small and large groups.
Exam # 1 (approx. 30%)
Exam # 2 (approx. 30%)
Exam # 3 (approx. 30%)
Participation (approx. 10%)
Pop Quizzes: To make sure the class is keeping up with the readings, from time to time I will give a pop quiz. This will count toward your participation grade.
Attendance: It is imperative that you show up to class, both physically and mentally every class period. I realize emergencies may come up which prevent you from attending class. That is why you are allowed three absences (so use them wisely). It is also very important to attend class on time.
Two tardies equals one absence
4 absences = highest grade b
5 absences = highest grade c
6 absences = highest grade c-
More than 6 absences = consider withdrawing or risk failing the class
Conferences: The purpose of conferences is to give you individual time to talk about your reading and writing with the instructor. Take charge of these conferences; they’re designed to address your needs. Bring your questions, ideas, and your draft to the conference.
Late work: As with any professional environment, if you miss class, the work is still due that day. If an emergency arises, contact me as soon as possible, hopefully before class, to see if we can work out an arrangement. You cannot retake a pop quiz.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is intentionally or knowingly representing the words of another as one's own in any academic exercise. This is a SERIOUS offense punishable by failure or even expulsion from school. I will not tolerate any act of plagiarism in this course.
Class Schedule (subject to change)
Unit 1: The Portable Beat Reader
T, Aug 16: Introductions
R, Aug 18: read intro and Allen Ginsberg
T, Aug 23: read Gregory Corso
R, Aug 25: read editor’s note, Whalen and Lamantia
T, Aug 30: read Welch, editor’s note and Amiri Baraka
R, Sep 1: read DiPrima and Dylan
T, Sep 6: read O’Hara and Sanders
R, Sep 8: read Waldman and Wieners
T, Sep 13: Exam # 1 (Bring Blue Book)
Unit 2: The Portable Jack Kerouac
R, Sep 15: read Kerouac
T, Sep 20: read Kerouac
R, Sep 22: read Kerouac
T, Sep 27: read Kerouac
R, Sep 29: read Kerouac
T, Oct 4: read Kerouac
R, Oct 6: read Kerouac
T, Oct 11: read Kerouac
R, Oct 13: read Kerouac
T, Oct 18: Exam # 2 (Bring Blue Book)
Unit 3:Word Virus
R, Oct 20: read Burroughs
T, Oct 25: read Burroughs
R, Oct 27: read Burroughs
T, Nov 1: read Burroughs
R, Nov 3: read Burroughs
M, Nov 8: read Burroughs
R, Nov 10: read Burroughs
T, Nov 15: read Burroughs
R, Nov 17: read Burroughs
Thanksgiving Break. NO CLASS Nov 22 and Nov 24
T, Nov 29: read Burroughs
R, Dec 1: Exam # 3 (this will take the place of a final exam)