Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Allen Ginsberg: 'The Best Minds of My Generation' (2017). Part II

Allen Ginsberg, The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats, edited by Bill Morgan. New York: Grove Press, 2017. Foreword by Anne Waldman.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky. "The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov were our favorite books then . . . (p. 101).

Visions of Cody. "I had the idea that Kerouac was influenced by Neal [Cassady] reading [Marcel] Proust aloud. In 1947 when Cassady was in town we had a copy of Scott Moncrieff's translation of Proust and Neal would read that aloud when we were high on grass. He read Proust very beautifully and . . . enjoyed the long organic sentences that were inclusive of many varieties of thought forms and associations that rose during the composition of the sentence. . . . as in [John] Milton, Proust used long sentences to include everything in his mind."  (pp. 105-106)

"When you hear yourself echoed in somebody else's indulgent, tender, sympathetic consciousness, you begin to appreciate yourself." (p. 115)

William S. Burroughs. "Burroughs ascribes Kerouac's enthusiasm and encouragement as the greatest single force in making him write, finally . . . Kerouac and I saw Burroughs as very shy, tender, and sweet, with good manners. Quiet with a sense of humor cutting through."  (p. 116)

Kerouac imagined writing an American Civil War book, with Burroughs as a "morphine-addicted . . . general." (pp. 120-121) 

Herman Melville and "American loneliness. The central image of that for Kerouac was everybody looking for 'the center of Saturday night in America' . . . in the back alley, under a redbrick building, under a neon sign, with nobody looking at him . . . which is where everybody wound up, unsatisfied." (pp. 121-122

"Visions of Cody is the most serious text we'll run into . . . Kerouac . . . undergoes a transfiguration and becomes his art, he ceases to be a guy writing at his art and becomes interchangeable with the art . . . His writing and his personality become identical and becomes a superprofessional in the sense that he's a saint of writing. (pp. 128-129)

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. For Burroughs, writing "was not so much . . . redemption, but . . . a communicative activity which linked him with me and other people, with the rest of humanity, with friends." He found writing to be more practical than "a romantic thing." (p. 153)

Burroughs "sees right through everything immediately with no illusions." (p. 164)

"Trace back along the word vine to find the source of control. Who started the whole maya, the illusion, and to what extent does language dictate to our sense of what we see, hear, smell." (p. 169)

Burroughs on New Orleans: "'The drivers orient themselves largely by the use of their horns, like bats. The residents are surly. The transient population is conglomerate and unrelated, so that you never know what sort of behavior to expect from anybody.'" (p. 171) 

Burroughs as visual writer. (pp. 179-180)

"The Waste Land is not much different from Burroughs . . . collage method . . . Apollinaire . . . I think that the thing Burroughs and Eliot have most in common is 'music down a windy street,' . . . spare, nostalgic, pungent images that will haunt you with an echo of time past." See also Saint-John Perse, Anabasis. (p. 188)

"His unconscious life and his every day life are merged. With Burroughs writing becomes a probe into consciousness, or a probe into depth." (p. 191)

". . . the entire fabric of appearance and phenomenon." (p. 199) 

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune. 

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