Beat Literature & History
The Beat Generation may be most famous for Jack Kerouac (On the Road), Allen Ginsberg (Howl), and William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), but in fact it claims an amazing number of inspired writers. Delve into our complete selection of fine books by and about the Beats and their accomplices —among them,  Neal Cassady, Herbert Huncke, Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima, Ted Joans, John Clellon Holmes, Anne Waldman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Robert Duncan, Philip Lamantia, Bob Kaufman, Bob Creeley, Kenneth Rexroth. Browse your favorite author, search for a specific title, or just look through the entire selection of over 200 Beat books, presented alphabetically by author.

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

  |  Neal Cassady
  |  Gregory Corso
  |  Bob Kaufman
  |  Jack Kerouac
  |  Gary Snyder

   
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The Beats
A Graphic History
Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar
I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights, but none are quite as fun as this graphic history. The perfect collection for those who think they've heard all the stories about Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, et al. The Beats also provides...
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And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac
More than sixty years ago, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac sat down in New York City to write a novel about the summer of 1944, when one of their friends killed another in a moment of brutal and tragic bloodshed. The two authors were then at the...
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Wake Up
A Life of the Buddha
Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac's profound meditations on the Buddha's life and religion In the mid-1950s, Jack Kerouac, a lifelong Catholic, became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that had a significant impact on his ideas of spirituality and later found...
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The Awakener
A Memoir of Kerouac and the Fifties
Helen Weaver
Helen Weaver's intimate memoir of love and friendship with Jack Kerouac and the Beats
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The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder
Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder
One of the central relationships in the Beat scene was the long-lasting friendship of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. Ginsberg introduced Snyder to the East Coast Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, while Snyder himself became the model for the...
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A Blue Hand
The Tragicomic, Mind-Altering Odyssey of Allen Ginsberg, a Holy Fool, a Lost Muse, a Dharma Bum, and His Prickly Bride in India
Deborah Baker
In this engrossing new piece of Beat history, Pulitzer Prize finalist Deborah Baker takes us back to the moment when America’s edgiest writers looked to India for answers as India looked to the West. It was 1961 when Allen Ginsberg left New York by...
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On the Road
The Original Scroll
Jack Kerouac
The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published as Kerouac originally composed it IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing...
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Mountains and Rivers Without End
Poem
Gary Snyder
In simple, striking verse, legendary poet Gary Snyder weaves an epic discourse on the topics of geology, prehistory, and mythology. First published in 1996, this landmark work encompasses Asian artistic traditions, as well as Native American...
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Tau by Philip Lamantia and Journey to the End by John Hoffman
Pocket Poets Number 59
Philip Lamantia, John Hoffman, Garrett Caples
Two new books from the classic Beat period: mystical poems by Philip Lamantia and the long-lost "Six Gallery" poems by legendary hipster John Hoffman.
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Back on the Fire
Essays
Gary Snyder
This collection of essays by Gary Snyder, now in paperback, blazes with insight. In his most autobiographical writing to date, Snyder employs fire as a metaphor for the crucial moment when deeply held viewpoints yield to new experiences, and our...
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Troia
Mexican Memoirs
Bonnie Bremser
For those who are interested in the Beats and want to dig a bit deeper beyond the usual suspects, this long-neglected memoir of hard life in Mexico is raw, naked, honest, full of feeling, and sometimes barely in control. While avoiding statements about...
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Collected Poems 1947-1997
Allen Ginsberg
Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America's great poets. As the chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of...
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Poetry As Insurgent Art
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
After a lifetime, this (r)evolutionary little book is still a work-in-progress, the poet's ars poetica, to which at 88 he is constantly adding. From the groundbreaking (and bestselling) A Coney Island of the Mind in 1958 to the "personal epic" of...
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Bohemia
Where Art, Angst, Love and Strong Coffee Meet
Herb Gold
Bruce Cook of the Washington Post Book World has written that: Bohemia has become an acceptable, even desirable lifestyle all around America, and indeed the world over. But to understand how this happened, how an alternative lifestyle became so...

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