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Edited by Harri Veivo, Petra James and Dorota Walczak-Delanois

Beat Literature in Europe offers twelve in-depth analyses of how European authors and intellectuals on both sides of the Iron Curtain read, translated and appropriated American Beat literature. The chapters combine textual analysis with discussions on the role Beat had in popular music, art, and different subcultures.
The book participates in the transnational turn that has gained in importance during the past years in literary studies, looking at transatlantic connections through the eyes of European authors, artists and intellectuals, and showing how Beat became a cluster of texts, images, and discussions with global scope. At the same time, it provides vivid examples of how national literary fields in Europe evolved during the cold war era.

Contributors are: Thomas Antonic, Franca Bellarsi, Frida Forsgren, Santiago Rodriguez Guerrero-Strachan, József Havasréti, Tiit Hennoste, Benedikt Hjartarson, Petra James, Nuno Neves, Maria Nikopoulou, Harri Veivo, Dorota Walczak-Delanois, Gregory Watson.

Kanade, di Goldene Medine?

Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture / Perspectives sur la littérature et la culture juives canadiennes

Series:

Edited by Krzysztof Majer, Justyna Fruzińska, Józef Kwaterko and Norman Ravvin

Kanade, di Goldene Medine offers a broad study of its field, with equal attention to English- and French-language materials and contexts. The volume’s essays highlight the fundamental link between the culture and life of Canadian Jews and their Polish roots. This focus brings Yiddish to the fore, in essays focusing on the history of Canadian Yiddish literature, and the relevance of the language for contemporary Canadian Chasidic communities. However, essays in this volume also highlight the writings of contemporary authors, working both in French and English. Thus, the collection explores culture at the borderlands of three languages, with an eye for the link between New Worlds and Old.

Kanade, di Goldene Medine apporte une contribution importante à l’étude de la littérature et la culture juives canadiennes, tout en étant attentif aux textes et contextes anglophone et francophone ainsi qu’à l’univers particulier des juifs hassidiques de Montréal. Le volume tient également compte du lien fondamental entre la créativité des juifs canadiens et leurs racines est-européennes, en particulier polonaises, et de la présence de la langue yiddish − ou de son imaginaire − dans leurs textes sous forme de traduction ou autotraduction. Le lecteur pourra cerner dans ce livre des perspectives transversales qui mettent en relation des itinéraires multiples et diversifiés noués entre le Nouveau Monde et le Vieux.

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Santiago Rodríguez Guerrero-Strachan

Abstract

This chapter examines the literature of the Beat Generation in Spain. The Beat Generation was little known in Spain until well into the 1970s. It remained only partially accessible to Spanish readers since most writers, critics and translators focused on the work of the major Beat figures. Due to the Francoist dictatorship, the reception of the Beat Generation was delayed. Despite the late discovery by Spanish readers, the influence of the Beat Generation spread from the countercultural movement that attained its high point in United States in the 1960s and reached as far as the underground movement La Movida in Madrid in the 1980s. The chapter is divided into two parts, which discuss authors born before 1945 and after 1945, respectively. In general, the Beat Generation attracted attention due to Spanish writers’ search for freedom both in life and in literature, which in this respect implied a renewal of literary language.

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Nuno Miguel Neves

This chapter examines the reception of Beat Literature in Portuguese society. The analysis of the context takes into account the existence of a censorship apparatus that depended on a totalitarian regime. The chapter then discusses Beat reception in magazines. The broader impact of the Beat presence is evaluated through a brief review of its influence on the writing of Portuguese authors from the surrealist scene as well as on new authors, like Jorge Fallorca or José Matos Cruz, who were not connected to any literary generation. This chapter also analyses the influence of censorship on translation. It is hoped that this chapter will help to fill a major gap in Portuguese literary studies regarding the reception and influence of the North American Beat authors.

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Thomas Antonic

Abstract

This chapter analyses the reception of Beat literature in Austria and its influence on Austrian writers from ca. 1960 to the present. It also provides an overview of the political and cultural context of post-World War ii Austria as a precondition for understanding the difficulties confronted by experimental writers in this highly conservative Roman Catholic country, which had only been half-heartedly denazified. The study not only discusses the influence of Beat literature on well-known Austrian writers such as Nobel laureate in literature Elfriede Jelinek, Peter Handke, Wolfgang Bauer, and similarities between the writing techniques found in Beat literature and the experiments of the so called “Wiener Gruppe” (Vienna Group), but also the central role of the Schule für Dichtung (Vienna Poetry School) in establishing a positive image of Beat poetry in Austria.

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Tiit Hennoste

This chapter analyses the traces left by the Beat movement in Estonian literature. It discusses Estonian Beat writers Johnny B. Isotamm, Peeter Sauter and Jürgen Rooste, who followed mainly the idea of bringing literature “back to life.” In addition, it introduces writers whose works were indirectly connected to the Beats and who valued the idea of a search for an inner enlightenment (Mati Unt, Jaan Kaplinski). Around 1965–1975, ideas of the Beats came indirectly into Estonia through the counterculture, the hippie movement, and the new youth culture. In the 1990s, translations of canonical Beat works were published and Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg influenced young Estonian writers. Both periods valued authenticity, freedom, sincerity and honesty, but with a different emphasis. This chapter also provides brief overviews of Estonian culture and literary life in both eras.

Series:

Harri Veivo, Petra James and Dorota Walczak-Delanois

Series:

Dorota Walczak-Delanois

Abstract

American Beat literature did not reach Polish readers in the 1950s easily due to the restrictive nature of the country’s political system. However, Leopold Tyrmand – a great advocate of jazz – Marek Hłasko – a kind of hobo adventurer – and Edward Stachura – a vagabond singer – can be considered as representing a Polish version of Beat. Labelled as “marginal” or émigrés, they succeeded in renewing Polish literature from the 1950s onwards. This chapter also discusses issues related to the relevant social and cultural context of Poland, such as the reception of the figure of the beatnik and hitchhiking. Ginsberg, who visited Poland several times, was the best known member of the Beat Generation. His poem “Café in Warsaw” and Miron Białoszewski’s short story Bitnik are important literary testimonies to Beat in Poland. The chapter ends with a discussion on post-1989 authors who represent non-conformist literature and a new style of being on “the road.”

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Frida Forsgren

Abstract

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.