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.
Praise for The Beats Abroad:
"It is a difficult to take a complete guided tour of the places the pioneers of the beat generation visited but this brief account gives a taste of the kind of nomadic life that many lived and enjoyed and experienced and which became the impetus to a lifestyle that finally could be termed quite accurately as 'cool'."––Shelley Walia, The Tribune
Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant working in New York City. He is the author of numerous books about Beat Generation history and its writers, most recently Peter Orlovsky: A Life in Words, and The Typewriter is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation. He has edited collections of writing and correspondence of many of the Beat Generation's most important authors, including Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Burroughs, Snyder and Corso. He is a painter and a civil war expert, and has worked as an archivist for Lawrence Ferlinghtetti, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Diane diPrima, Oliver Sacks, Arthur Miller and Timothy Leary among others.