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Humanities 2019, 8(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010003

The Beat Generation Meets the Hungry Generation: U.S.—Calcutta Networks and the 1960s “Revolt of the Personal”

Department of English, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042, USA
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beat Generation Writers as Readers of World Literature)
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Abstract

This essay explores the relationship between the U.S.-based Beat literary movement and the Hungry Generation literary movement centered in and around Calcutta, India, in the early 1960s. It discusses a trip Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky took to India in 1962, where they met writers associated with the Hungry Generation. It further explains how Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of City Lights Books in San Francisco, was inspired to start a new literary magazine, City Lights Journal, by Ginsberg’s letters from India, which included work by Hungry Generation writers. The essay shows how City Lights Journal packaged the Hungry Generation writers as the Indian wing of the Beat movement, and focuses in particular on the work of Malay Roy Choudhury, the founder of the Hungry Generation who had been prosecuted for obscenity for his poem “Stark Electric Jesus”. The essay emphasizes in particular the close relationship between aesthetics and politics in Hungry Generation writing, and suggests that Ginsberg’s own mid-1960s turn to political activism via the imagination is reminiscent of strategies employed by Hungry Generation writers. View Full-Text
Keywords: Beat Generation; Hungry Generation; Hungryalists; Allen Ginsberg; Malay Roy Choudhury; Beats in India; transnational Beats; international Beat movement; Beat politics; City Lights Journal; “Stark Electric Jesus”; “Wichita Vortex Sutra” Beat Generation; Hungry Generation; Hungryalists; Allen Ginsberg; Malay Roy Choudhury; Beats in India; transnational Beats; international Beat movement; Beat politics; City Lights Journal; “Stark Electric Jesus”; “Wichita Vortex Sutra”
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Belletto, S. The Beat Generation Meets the Hungry Generation: U.S.—Calcutta Networks and the 1960s “Revolt of the Personal”. Humanities 2019, 8, 3.

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