Post by Will Dockery
When you think of the classics, do you really think of Kerouac
If I do, it looks like a great many people agree with me that Jack Kerouac
Kerouac I know but Harlan Ellison I've never heard of.
These are people I know of who were linked to the beat generation.
Arthur, Chester Alan (Gavin)
Grandson of US president Chester Alan Arthur, lived in dunes
south of Pismo Beach among attendant soothsayers and yogis as
King of the Dunes (Watts 1973:282).
He fought in the Irish rebellion and the Spanish Civil War,
and later made a living casting horoscopes. Taught
comparative religion classes at San Quentin Prison, where
Neal Cassady was one of his students (Cassady 1990:331ff).
Burroughs, William S.
Legendary beat figure born in St Louis in 1914, graduate of
Harvard, met Kerouac & Ginsberg in 1944. Worked as private
detective, exterminator & bar tender. Chose drugs as a way of
life, settled in Tangiers in 1953. His "Naked lunch" was
published in 1959. "The place of dead roads" was published in
1984 on his 70th birthday (McDarrah 1985:289).
In Kerouac's novels Burroughs is identified as Will Dennison,
Will Hubbard, Frank Camody and in "On the road" as Old Bull
Lee (McDarrah 1985:47).
San Francisco columnist who coined the term "beatnik" to
describe members of the Beat generation (Christensen
Neal Cassady (1926-1968) was the legendary folk hero of the
beat movement, born in Salt Lake City on 8 Feb 1926 to a life
of hardship. Immortalized as Dean Moriarty in Kerouac's "On
the road". Died in Mexico on 4 Feb 1968 four days before his
43rd birthday. William Plummer's definitive book on Cassady,
"The holy goof" was published in 1981 (McDarrah 1985:289,
dates by Dave Moore).
Appears in "Dharma Bums" as Bud Diefendorf (Gifford & Lee
de Latre, Pierre
Beatnik priest, whose Bread and Wine mission became a
laundromat when he went to the country to write a novel
Billie (Willamine) in "Big Sur", a mistress of Neal Cassady,
whom he handed over to Jack Kerouac when he came out of
prison in 1960. Her son, called "Elliott" in "Big Sur" must
have been born ab out 1956.
Poet. Born 3 Jun 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, attended
Columbia College, later sailed in Merchant Marine. In 1955
went to San Francisco, where his poem "Howl" created a
sensation and a court case for obscenity. In 1974 won
National Book Award for "Fall of America". Organized the
Naropa Institute (McDarrah 1985:295).
Appears as "Alvah Goldbook" in "The Dharma Bums"; Appears as
David Stofsky, the mad poet, in "Go".
Appears as Irwin Garden in several novels and as Carlo Marx
in "On the road" and Adam Moorad in "The subterraneans"
(Gifford & Lee 1978:326).
Kenny Wisdom in "Ringolevio: a life played for keeps" - a
semi-autobiographical book about the sleazy side of the
Haight-Ashbury hippie scene of the 1960s.
Holmes, John Clellon
Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts & attended Columbia.
Introduced the term "beat generation" in an essay in NY Times
magazine in 1952, in the same year in which he published his
first novel "Go". Was later a university professor of
creative writing in Arkansas (McDarrah 1985:297).
Beat generation author (1922-1969). Jean Louis Lebris de
Kerouac born 12 March 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Graduated from Lowell High School in 1939, where he had
starred in football and athletics. Matriculated at Columbia
University, New York in 1940, but in 1941 dropped out and did
odd jobs. Enlisted in US Navy, but was discharged on
psychiatric grounds. In 1943 went to Liverpool as a merchant
seaman. In 1944 met William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
Married and was separated from Edie Parker. In 1946 met Neal
Cassady, and his travels with Cassady in the next couple of
years were described in "On the road". In 1952 worked as a
brakeman on Southern Pacific Railroad while living was
Cassadys in San Jose. In 1954 read Thoreau and Buddhist
philosophy. In 1955 met Gary Snyder, attended famous poetry
reading by six poets in San Francisco. In 1956 spent the
summer fire watching in Cascade mountains of Washington, and
the following year visited Burroughs in Tangiers. "On the
road" published in 1957, "Subterraneans" & "Dharma bums" in
1958. Several books published from then until his death on 21
October 1969 in Petersburg, Florida.
Poet, novelist, lecturer & beat chronicler. Born in Poland in
1899, died in 1975. Best known for "The erotic revolution"
and "The holy barbarians". Co-author of 22 mystery novels
under the pseudonym Craig Rice (McDarrah 1985:302).
Studied with Alan Watts at the American Academy of Asian
Studies (Gifford & Lee 1978:208; Furlong 1986:137). He was a
pacifist, and Watts gave evidence in his trial for resisting
Gary Snyder lived in a shack above his house in Mill Valley
in 1958 (Fields 1992:220). He was Sean Monahan of "The Dharma
bums" and Kevin McLoch in "Desolation angels" and Gary Snyder
and Jack Kerouac stayed there in 1956 (Gifford & Lee
1978:328). In 1978 he was senior aide to Werner Erhard, the
secular guru of est, Erhard Seminars Training (Gifford & Lee
Poet & pamphleteer, author of Kerouac West coast. Was Henry
Morley in "Dharma Bums" and Alex Fairbrother in "Desolation
angels" (Gifford & Lee 1978:329)
Woodsman, linguist, anthropologist and poet. Born 8 May 1930
in San Francisco, and raised in Washington State and Oregon.
At Reed College was part of a Bohemian group that included
Philip Whalen and Lew Welch (Charters 1993:288). Studied
classical Chinese at Berkeley. In 1956 went to Japan to study
Zen Buddhism. Published his first book, "Riprap", in 1959 and
won several prizes for "Turtle Island", published 1974
Snyder was a personal friend of Alan Watts, and was the hero
of Jack Kerouac's book "The Dharma bums", where he appears
under the alias of Japhy Ryder. Fr Seraphim Rose met him
several times at the Academy of Asian Studies in San
Francisco (Christenson 1993:89).
He also appears as Jarry Wagner in "Desolation Angels" and
Erstwhile Episcopal priest and chaplain at North Western
University, wrote 24 books on Eastern thought and died in
1973 (Chandler 1988:49)
Alan W. Watts visited Pomona College in California in 1953.
He was an Englishman who had been an Anglican priest in the
1940s, but left the ministry in 1950 after a public
controversy. He became dean of the American Academy of Asian
Studies in San Francisco 1953 with a speciality in Zen
Buddhism (Christensen 1993:35). Watts influenced the San
Francisco Renaissance of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and
was an avowed hedonist. He also influenced Eugene Rose (Fr
Seraphim Rose), who later, however, rejected Watts's
teachings when he embraced Orthodoxy (Christenson 1993:39,
Watts appears as Arthur Whane in Jack Kerouac's "The Dharma
Bums" and as Alex Aums in "Desolation Angels."
High school track star. Roomed with Philip Whalen and Gary
Snyder at Reed College. Collected works appeared in 1977,
five years after his strange disappearance in the foothills
of the Sierra Nevada, described in Aram Saroyan's definitive
portrait, "Genesis angels" (McDarragh 1985:317).
Participated in a Zen zazen group in 1958 with Snyder, Claude
Dahlenburg, Albert Saijo & others in a shack above Locke
McCorkle's house in Mill Valley. It was called Marin-an -
Horse Grove Hermitage. Saijo & Welch maintained it for a
while after Snyder returned to Japan, then it was moved to
East-West House in San Francisco (Fields 1992:220). Appears
in Kerouac's "Big Sur" as Dave Wain (Gifford & Lee 1978:332)
and also in "Desolation angels".
Poet and Zen monk. Appears in "Dharma Bums" as Warren
Coughlin and in "Big Sur" as Ben Fagan (Gifford & Lee