subculture movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era

rejection of standard narrative values, making a spiritual quest, the exploration of American and Eastern religions, the rejection of economic materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration

bohemians hedonists


pushed boundaries of literature vulgar and taboo

main three / Beat Trinity - Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs

spontaneous, “zest for life”

catalyst for the hippie movement (Ginsberg was part of it too)

Kerouac introduced the phrase “Beat Generation” in 1948 to characterize a perceived underground, anti-conformist youth movement in New York, but Herbert Huncke is credited with first using the word ‘beat’.