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‘I’ IS ANOTHER:
1st person point of view (limited)
Sex & love/Male bonding
Allen Ginsberg 1926-1997
His family life was tumultuous, and would leave a lasting impression in his work.
Ginsberg’s father was a Jewish socialist and teacher, and his mother was a radical Communist who would eventually go completely insane. She would go on to be institutionalized, and in keeping with medical practices of the day, she was lobotomized.
His mother’s condition haunted Allen, and manifested itself in one of his finest poems, “Kaddish”.
City Lights, the bookstore from which “Howl” was confiscated.
the poem deals very frankly with drugs, sex, and the grittier side of city living.
Because of its language and subject matter, customs officials seized all copies of it, which led to a 1957 obscenity trial.
With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, “Howl” was once again allowed to be sold.
This landmark case set a precedent against censorship that has had a huge effect on the literature we are able to read today.
Hear Ginsberg on censorship.
Allen would go on to travel the world, and discover Buddhism for himself.
Unlike the other Beats, Allen embraced the Hippie Movement. He heavily promoted the use of the hallucinogenic drug LSD, and was largely influential in 60s pop culture.
during the Summer of Love
“I” and “my mother”
Omniscient/prophetic point of view
Specific second person addressee
Exclamation and declamation
Curses and blessings
Stream of consciousness
The long line (Whitman, the Torah)
Violence and destruction
Quest for connection
Travel and exile
memory name the unnamable
The individual vs. the ghost/phantom
Struggle between madness and normalcy
Base + variation
(no more, toward)
eulogy for the mother
Biblical (Jewish) intertextuality
the magnification and sanctification of God's name.
ritual of mourning
Douglas Coupland: Polaroids from the Dead