The San Francisco Renaissance

The San Francisco Renaissance : Poetics and Community at Mid-Century

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The San Francisco Renaissance is the first overview of this major American literary movement. Michael Davidson recounts its emergence during the postwar period in the San Francisco Bay area as defined by poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan and William Everson, and then as it blossomed into the literary excitements associated with the Beat movement and with writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Individual chapters are devoted to major writers of the period and to their involvement with social and political change during the Cold War era. Davidson's penultimate chapter deals with the largely neglected context of women writers during this period, and the final chapter deals with poetry since more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139241842
  • 9781139241847

Review quote

"Davidson's The San Francisco Renaissance is as close to a 'definitive' study as I can imagine." Richard Silberg, Poetry Flash "Davidson offers an excellently conceived synthesis of literary criticism and cultural history and analysis." Choice "Lucid, nuanced, informed, this is a model literary history of the literary and social formation of interlocking 'bohemias' (Rexroth circle of the 1940s, the Beats, Spicer circle, Snyderian neo-primitives, the Duncan group) as equally at ease with interpretive and theoretical debate as with the choice and framing of telling incident, example, analysis." Rachel Blau duPlessis, Sulfur "Michael Davidson's The San Francisco Renaissance illuminates and traces this movement by identifying its major writers, who were intent on severing the shackles that they believed were encumbering postwar America...Davidson is impeccably thorough in his presentation...." John Aeillo, San Franciso Examiner "Michael Davidson's book, The San Francisco Renaissance, is long overdue." Phil Woods, The Bloomsbury Review "Davidson is a superior critic well acquainted with the scene and the authors. His focus on community helps to make sense of the diverse groups in close interaction with one another in that time and place without sacrificing anything in the sharpness and clarity of his discussion of individual authors....The scope is wider than the literary movements discussed and superior to books that apply a single theory to heterogeneous texts. Davidson employs a number of current theories, choosing that approach which best illuminates the text at hand yet maintains a clear unity among the various strands of his subject. The resulting book is an important work for all readers concerned with contemporary literature and literary theory." George F. Wedge, American Studiesshow more

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction: enabling fictions; 1. The elegiac mode: rhetoric and poetics in the 1940s; 2. 'The darkness surrounds us': participation and reflection among the beat writers; 3. 'Spotting that design': incarnation and interpretation in Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen; 4. 'Cave of resemblances, cave of Rimes': tradition and repetition in Robert Duncan; 5. The city redefined: community and dialogue in Jack Spicer; 6. Appropriations: women and the San Francisco renaissance; 7. Approaching the fin de siecle; Notes; more

Rating details

14 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (2)
4 36% (5)
3 43% (6)
2 7% (1)
1 0% (0)
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