The Bop Apocalypse : The Religious Visions of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs
The first book to engage the religious world of the Beats on its own terms, taking seriously the otherworldly claims made by each writer and recreates the religious world that was foundational to the most well-known works of the three most famous Beat writers.
- Hardback | 328 pages
- 157.48 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 566.99g
- 01 Jan 2001
- University of Illinois Press
- Baltimore, United States
"In a highly interesting study, Lardas sets out to chart the spiritual vision that fueled the work of Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, and William S. Burroughs... Viewing the art of the Beats in its cultural context, Lardas offers a more coherent shape to their literary careers. Highly recommended." -- Choice "For those who concur with Truman Capote that Kerouac's writing is mere typing, for those who ascribe Norman Podhoretz's famous epithet of 'know-nothing' to the Beats, for those who think that Burroughs was just another queer junky or Ginsberg just another whiny Jewish mama's boy or Kerouac just another pretty face, think again. Lardas's new critical study provides more than enough solid scholarship to challenge these particularly mean-spirited, ill-informed putdowns of the Beats as intellectual lightweights. After reading this book, you may still find fault with the poetry and polemics, but you won't find their minds thin and thoughtless, their literary output culture lite." -- American Book Review "Lardas has written a well researched and carefully argued scholarly work. He has established the authenticity of the Beats' pain over the failings of America and their zeal to bring about a better society through their lives and art... The most valuable contribution of this study is that Lardas has demonstrated the large influence that Oswald Spengler had on the thinking of all three Beats." -- Christianity and Literature "A model academic literary study: it avoids the jargon and free-association speculations of theory-addled, PC-blinkered critics and instead concentrates on the demonstrable sources of the Beat vision and their influence on their creative work... May be the finest book written on the Beats to date and deserves the widest readership possible." -- Rain Taxi ADVANCE PRAISE "An indispensable study that explains the religious/philosophical underpinnings of the counterculture. It is impossible fully to understand the Beat Generation without reading John Lardas's enlightened work." -- Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center, University of New Orleans "A brilliant exposition of the visionary ambitions animating the Beats, The Bop Apocalypse is written with depth and a genuine understanding of historical dynamics. John Lardas illuminates Beat religiosity--the central expression of a common value system opposed to the dominant American ideological climate after World War II. He sees how the tension of jeremiad and celebration leads to both an artistic complexity and the goal of transfiguration. He has written an essential book." -- John Tytell, author of Naked Angels: The Lives and Literature of the Beat Generation "This is the most perceptive, nuanced, and exhaustive account extant of the religious character of the Beats' expressive arts. It provides the literary critic with a different way of seeing both the performative/prophetic character of imaginative literature and the ways the religious dimension can be at play. It also provides a fine 'high-level' introduction for the educated general reader, who will now be able to see that the Beats' religious energies were more than a matter of culling Asian systems and outlooks." -- Rowland A. Sherrill, author of Road-Book America: Contemporary Culture and the New Picaresque