Chapter 9 The Reception of Beat Literature in Hungary

In: Beat Literature in a Divided Europe
Author:
József Havasréti
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Abstract

The reception of American Beat literature in Hungarian literary circles began in the early 1960s. The first translations were of “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. An anthology of the Beat (Howl – Confessions about the Beat Generation, 1967) edited by Sükösd Mihály had a significant role in that era. Most Hungarian critics objected to the irrationality and instinctiveness of the movement. Voices of appraisal emphasised how the Beat rejected the American establishment. The 1970s saw a surge in Hungarian publications of Beat literature, and the surrounding controversies died down. In the 1980s, there was a renewed interest in Beat literature, primarily due to Ginsberg’s visits (1980, 1986). After the fall of communism, Beat literature lost its sensational appeal, but the cult of Ginsberg has remained, especially among members of the alternative cultural scene in Budapest.

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