Re: RARA-AVIS: Heirs of Selby

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 11 Jul 2002

> As for the Beats, I think their main legacy may be the lives they led,
> as a sort of performance art, more than the words they wrote, which
> more and more dated as we get farther away. I think it's kind of
> telling that there now seems to be so little difference between the
> contemporaneous spoofs and much of the real stuff. Give a listen to
> Rhino Beat Generation box set, for instance. It's hard to tell who's
> serious and who's joking, except when the real Beats take themselves
> too seriously about things they should be joking.
> Mark

For some reason, Burroughs (& Selby, I guess) aside I never really got into the Beats as a kid although (probably because) my school buddies went on a big Kerouac kick - I read one or two by Kerouac & couldn't get into it. Much later I saw the famous footage of Kerouac reading from ON THE ROAD on the Steve Allen Show, with Allen accompanying on jazzy piano noodlings. That was a real revelation - the reading brought out the jazz-inflected rhythms in the writing & brought out an almost magical quality in the prose that I'd never noticed before & it altered my perceptions of his work significantly, although I still never got around to reading ON THE ROAD.(I enjoyed THE SUBTERRANEANS).


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