The Beat Generation is one of the great homegrown countercultures of the United States, but in fact its writers traveled widely and most of them lived abroad for periods of time. Their travels were a vital source of inspiration, and in turn they inspired literary scenes and kindred spirits around the globe.
The writers we think of as beat first met in New York City in the 1940s and 50s, then joined up with others in San Francisco to form the group that became the Beat Generation. By the 1960s their books had become seminal texts for America’s counterculture, and many were being published in translation. As their travels brought them into contact with writers around the world, the Beats’ influence spread far beyond the United States.
In The Beats Abroad, renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan documents that international phase of the Beat Generation’s story. He delves deep into epicenters like Paris, Tangier, and Mexico City, and tracks down more remote locales from Siberia to Colombia. Entries contain specific addresses for the globetrotting reader to visit on every continent, and are loaded with fascinating stories that illuminate the lives and works of Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, and others. This handy reference lets the reader trace Ginsberg’s trail through India, or find the hotel in Tangier where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch, and much, much more.