Who could Beat this?

This is a definintion offered by Jack Kerouac of what he meant by the term Beat Generation, written by Kerouac in Mexico City in 1957, intended for an introduction to On the Road; it was retitled and republished as “Aftermath: The Philosophy of the Beat Generation” in Esquire, March 1958.

(By the time the American media were picking up on the term “Beat Generation” a lot of this was all old news to Kerouac and the actual personalities he profiled.)

      “The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsburg in an even wilder way, in the late Forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated, hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, curious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way—a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word “beat” spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America—beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction—“

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