Listening to the ‘Feverish Beat’: between Alienation and Creative Resistance – the Czech Reception of the Beats

in Beat Literature in a Divided Europe
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This article offers an overview of the Czech reception of the Beat movement. After explaining the socio-cultural specificities of the Czech context, the chapter suggests that the various Czech reactions to the Beat impulses should be interpreted as situating themselves somewhere on the scale between the feeling of ‘alienation’, or even ‘l’ex-propriation’ or ‘désappropriation’ (terms that Henri Lefebvre introduces in the first volume of Critique de la vie quotidienne in 1947), and ‘creative resistance’ to and ‘reappropriation’ of everyday life in the sense of Michel de Certeau (L’invention du quotidian, 1980). This chapter claims that the countercultural movements of the post-war period can be viewed and interpreted as reactions to the experience of everyday life, whether it be the Beats themselves, countercultural movements in general or specific local movements, such as the Czech underground, where the inspiration of the Beats was ultimately most evident.

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