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Ann Charters - book author

Ann Charters is the author of books: The Portable Beat Reader, Kerouac: A Biography, The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, The Portable Sixties Reader, Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation?, Literature and Its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, The Penguin Book Of The Beats, Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation, The American Short Story and Its Writer: An Anthology, I Love: The Story of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik

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Beginning in the late 1940s, American literature discovered a four-letter word, and the word was "beat." Beat as in poverty and beatitude, ecstacy and exile. Beat was Jack Kerouac touring the American road in prose as fast and reckless as a V-8 Chevy. It was the junk-sick surrealism of William Burroughs, the wild, Whitmanesque poetry of Allen Ginsberg, and the lumberjack Zen of Gary Snyder. "The Portable Beat Reader" collects the most significant writing of these and fellow members (and spiritual descendants) of the Beat Generation, including Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Diane DiPrima, Bob Dylan, Leroi Jones, and Michael McClure. In poetry, fiction, essays, song lyrics, letters, and memoirs, it captures the triumphant rudeness, energy, and exhilaration of a movement that swept through American letters with hurricane force.
Now that Kerouac's major novel, On the Road is accepted as an American classic, academic critics are slowly beginning to catch up with his experimental literary methods and examine the dozen books comprising what he called 'the legend of Duluoz.' Nearly all of his books have been in print internationally since his death in 1969, and his writing has been discovered and enjoyed by new readers throughout the world. Kerouac's view of the promise of America, the seductive and lovely vision of the beckoning open spaces of our continent, has never been expressed better by subsequent writers, perhaps because Kerouac was our last writer to believe in America's promise--and essential innocence--as the legacy he would explore in his autobiographical fiction.
This brief edition of the most widely adopted book of its kind offers all of the editorial features of the longer book with about half the stories and writer commentaries in a shorter, less expensive format.
A literary time capsule from the decade that changed the world

From civil rights to free love, JFK to LSD, Woodstock to the Moonwalk, the Sixties was a time of change, political unrest, and radical experiments in the arts, sexuality, and personal identity. In this anthology of essays, poetry, and fiction by some of America's most gifted writers, renowned sixties authority Ann Charters sketches the unfolding of this most turbulent decade. Organized by thematically linked chapters chronicling important social, political, and cultural movements, The Portable Sixties Reader features such luminaries as Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Robert Lowell, Eudora Welty, Bob Dylan, Malcolm X, Susan Sontag, Denise Levertov, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Hunter Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Lenny Bruce, Ishmael Reed, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Rachel Carson, and Gary Snyder. The concluding chapter, "Elegies for the Sixties," offers tributes to ten figures whose lives--and deaths--captured the spirit of the decade.

Cover photograph by Herbert Orth/TimePix.

Contributors that wouldn't fit in the author field:
Norman Mailer, Dave Mandel, Peter Matthiessen, Michael McClure, Country Joe McDonald, Thomas Merton, Kate Millett, Janice Mirikitani, N. Scott Momaday, Anne Moody, Larry Neal, Tim O'Brien, Charles Olson, Dan Paik, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Plath, Allen Polite, Dudley Randall, Ishmael Reed, Carolyn M. Rodgers, Muriel Rukeyser, Edward Sanders, Richard Schmorleitz, Anne Sexton, Gary Snyder, Valerie Solanas, Susan Sontag, Gloria Steinem, Hunter S. Thompson, Sally Tomlinson, Calvin Trillin, Eric Von Schmidt, Diane Wakoski, Alice Walker, Lew Welch, Eudora Welty, Malcolm X, & Al Young
In this wide-ranging anthology, Beat scholar Ann Charters brings together more than seventy-five essays, reviews, memoirs, poems, and sketches that evoke the credos and the controversies surrounding the Beat generation writers of the 1950s. Charters includes discussions of all the major Beat figures-Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Diane di Prima, Gary Snyder, and many more-from commentaries by the Beats themselves as well as by such writers as Henry Miller, William Carlos Williams, Mary McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Wolfe, Grace Paley, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. Charters also explores the humorous side of the Beat generation, its place in post-war American culture, and the contribution of the important women authors who also wrote Beat.
Literature is a conversation — between writers and other writers, and between writers and readers. In Literature and Its Writers, Ann and Samuel Charters complement a rich and varied selection of stories, poems, and plays with an unparalleled array of commentaries about that literature by the writers themselves. Such "writer talk" inspires students to respond as it models ways for them to enter the conversation. In the sixth edition, the Charters continue to entice students to join the conversation, with adventurous and intriguing new literary works, more detailed coverage of literary elements, and more help with reading and writing.

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John Clellon Holmes met Jack Kerouac on a hot New York City weekend in 1948, and until the end of Kerouac's life they were--in Holmes's words---Brother Souls.- Both were neophyte novelists, hungry for literary fame but just as hungry to find a new way of responding to their experiences in a postwar American society that for them had lost its direction. Late one night as they sat talking, Kerouac spontaneously created the term -Beat Generation- to describe this new attitude they felt stirring around them. Brother Souls is the remarkable chronicle of this cornerstone friendship and the life of John Clellon Holmes.

From 1948 to 1951, when Kerouac's wanderings took him back to New York, he and Holmes met almost daily. Struggling to find a form for the novel he intended to write, Kerouac climbed the stairs to the apartment in midtown Manhattan where Holmes lived with his wife to read the pages of Holmes's manuscript for the novel Go as they left the typewriter. With the pages of Holmes's final chapter still in his mind, he was at last able to crack his own writing dilemma. In a burst of creation in April 1951 he drew all the materials he had been gathering into the scroll manuscript of On the Road.

Biographer Ann Charters was close to John Clellon Holmes for more than a decade. At his death in 1988 she was one of a handful of scholars allowed access to the voluminous archive of letters, journals, and manuscripts Holmes had been keeping for twenty-five years. In that mass of material waited an untold story. These two ambitious writers, Holmes and Kerouac, shared days and nights arguing over what writing should be, wandering from one explosive party to the next, and hanging on the new sounds of bebop. Through the pages of Holmes's journals, often written the morning after the events they recount, Charters discovered and mined an unparalleled trove describing the seminal figures of the Beat Generation: Holmes, Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and their friends and lovers.
This groundbreaking anthology is the first to offer a truly inclusive survey of the American short story along with a unique array of major critical statements and commentaries by the writers themselves.