Eastern philosophies in post-war American literature

The Beat generation in the USA in the 1950's was not only a literary phenomenon but also a social one. In the mainly autobiographical works of the outstanding representatives, such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burrough and Neal Cassady, we can trace the formation and disappearance o...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Petrovits István Zoltán
Other Authors: Kocsik András
Format: Thesis
Published: 2007
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Online Access:http://diploma.bibl.u-szeged.hu/72823
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Summary:The Beat generation in the USA in the 1950's was not only a literary phenomenon but also a social one. In the mainly autobiographical works of the outstanding representatives, such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burrough and Neal Cassady, we can trace the formation and disappearance of this school trend highly influenced by Buddhism and expressionism. I will make efforts to present the connections between the philosophy of this movement and the Buddhist doctrines in my thesis. I will discuss this matter with special regard to Buddhist beliefs and ideas in Jack Kerouac'c works. Having summarized the principal characteristics of the Beats, I will also emphasize the role of social and political conditions under which they had grown up. I will demonstrate the problems and disadvantages of the post-war America, which were in many ways responsible for the existence of the Beat Generation. Furthermore, in the thesis I will introduce the origin and the main concepts of Buddhism putting stress on the importance of enlightenment, meditation and the need of the release of one's attachment to desire. Finally, I will analyze Kerouac' s Mexico City Blues, On The Road and The Dharma Bums pointing out those parts which are mostly influenced by Buddhist philosophy.