Activists and Stuntmen

Envisioning Polish Beat

Authored by: Andrzej Pietrasz , Tomasz Sawczuk

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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The links between Poland and the Beat generation are usually determined by and spoken of in terms of Allen Ginsberg’s East European excursions as well as translations of his poetry. The poet’s three visits to Poland (1965, 1986, 1993) together with a number of his texts available in Polish indeed helped to shape some of the literary voices and to widen the crack in the Communist monopoly over power and truth. Yet, the idea of Polish Beat literature reaches far beyond acknowledging the established poet. While not necessarily wholly indebted to the Beats’ literary and artistic output, the bulk of Polish post-war writings shares much of the spirit, themes and literary diction of what has come to be thought representative of Beat. This further poses the question of whether it is plausible to speak of the latter as a global mindset, emerging both within Poland and circulating transnationally.

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