Beat Authorship and Beat Influences in Austrian Literature

Authored by: Thomas Antonic

The Routledge Handbook of International Beat Literature

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9780415785457
eBook ISBN: 9781315210278
Adobe ISBN:


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When thinking of connections between Austrian literature and the Beat movement, the first name likely to come to mind is that of Ernst Jandl (1925–2000) and the recitation of his sound poetry at the International Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall in London, June 11, 1965. It was there that he appeared alongside Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others. In Peter Whitehead’s documentary film about the event, Wholly Communion, the Austrian writer bears a resemblance more to a bookkeeper than an avant-garde poet. As an ambitious English language teacher at a high school in Vienna, Jandl was well versed in English and American literature and frequently visited the capital of the United Kingdom from 1945–46 onward after having been interned in an American prisoner-of-war camp in Stockbridge, a small town in Hampshire, England. He had been conscripted into the German army in 1944 at the age of 18. Being neither a nazi nor a victim of nazi persecution, he was also no insurgent (see Stuckatz 2016: 27), and he escaped from his corps on its way to the Eastern Front simply to go back to his girlfriend in Vienna.

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