Feature Review of
The Philosophy of the Beats
Edited by Sharin Elkholy
Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.
With the release this summer of a film version of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (directed by the phenomenal Walter Salles), as well as the publication of the first issue of the The Beat Studies Journal (May 2012) we are apparently in the midst of a revival of interest in the so-called “beat generation”. Was there a “beat generation”? Allen Ginsberg said no, there was only a bunch of writers trying to get published. To Jack Kerouac the beat generation were those “who really know where we are.”
When one former Beat poet was told of a new book entitled The Philosophy of the Beats she asked “Did the Beats have a philosophy?” Well, yes, but only if the word “philosophy” is interpreted in the broad, non-technical sense utilized in this University Press of Kentucky series The Philosophy of Popular Culture (edited by Mark T Conard). As far as I can tell this is the only volume in that series of twenty-five that is not focused on film, television, or sports.