Category: American Literature

The Beats, New York School, Postmodernism

What an amazing day we have had exploring, interrogating this group of poets and artists. Perhaps top of the list comes Patti Smith who gigantically carries forward the subversive, passionate impulse of Ginsberg, Kerouac, O’Hara and Ashberry. Here she is singing her heart out, challenging all the heartless stereotypes that infect contemporary America: https://youtu.be/LNnC8hYOmlw Blog Topics:…

American Modernism

Hi All, today we had a saunter through the highways and byways of American Modernism, beginning with William Carlos Williams and ending with Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s parody of Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator is one of the great modernist, linguistic deconstructions of political grandiosity. It is paralleled by Chaplin’s closing speech where, using an entirely different…

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

The father and mother of American poetry! That is what this pair have been called; see Ginsberg, along with Sharon Olds and Galway Kinnell singing their praises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M5O3_FYB4A This week we have explored “Song of Myself”, “The Brooklyn Ferry” and a host of poems by Emily Dickinson. The present such an astonishing difference in life-style and…

Transcendentalism Week 3

This week Jess Brooks gave a wonderful exposition of the richness of the transcendentalists in 19th Century America. These clearly are a key to understanding later developments in American Literature, especially its spirituality and its search for authenticity in human experience. Emerson and Thoreau were the central focus of her presentation; both the lecture and…