Chapter 11 Reading Beat and Being Beat in Oslo – the Reception and Inspiration of Beat Culture in Post-war Norway

In: Beat Literature in a Divided Europe
Frida Forsgren
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This chapter explores the specific evolution of a Norwegian literature and art that was only slowly coming out of its provincialism during the first half of the twentieth century. As in other Scandinavian countries, such as Finland or Iceland, the translations of Beat authors served as vectors introducing modernist and avant-gardist models into rather traditional Norwegian literary and visual aesthetic models. The chapter discusses the early traces of Beat influence in Jan Erik Vold’s writing, Kate Næss’s translations, Axel Jensen’s confessional jazz prose, Marius Heyerdahl’s funk sculptures and Willibald Storn’s drip paintings. It also presents the underground galleries, the new artistic communities, and the emerging vital jazz and poetry scene to fully illustrate that bohemians hit Oslo earlier than hitherto recognised. It is thus pertinent to talk of a 1958 generation that throve in the underground, a generation that both read Beat and was Beat before Beat officially happened.

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