Read Beat Generation by Jack Kerouac Online


Beat Generation is a play about tension, about friendship, and about karma—what it is and how you get it. It begins one fine morning with a few friends, honest laborers some of them, some close to being down-and-out, passing around a bottle of wine. It ends with a kind of satori-like reaffirmation of the power of friendship, of doing good through not doing, and the intrinsBeat Generation is a play about tension, about friendship, and about karma—what it is and how you get it. It begins one fine morning with a few friends, honest laborers some of them, some close to being down-and-out, passing around a bottle of wine. It ends with a kind of satori-like reaffirmation of the power of friendship, of doing good through not doing, and the intrinsic worth of the throwaway little exchanges that make up our lives. Written in 1957, the same year that On the Road was first published, and set in 1953, Beat Generation portrays an authentic and alternate 1950s America. Kerouac's characters are working-class men and women—a step away from vagrants, but not a big step. Their dialogue positively sings, suggesting jazz riffs in their rhythm and content, and Kerouac, like a master composer, arranges it to magical effect. Here is the heart and soul of the beat mentality, the zeitgeist that blossomed over the decades and eventually culminated in the counter-culture of 1960s America. It's a spirit that still lives....

Title : Beat Generation
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781560257424
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 112 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Beat Generation Reviews

  • Christina
    2019-02-07 08:31

    Um, On the Road is definitely better. This had no point, which was essentially the point I suppose. It was a bunch of buddies talking..and getting no where in that. It was a super quick read and took me too long to actually want to be reading it..if that makes sense. I didn't mind the third Act. I wanted to like it more than I did. I don't know if I would recommend it.

  • Mat
    2019-02-10 06:26

    This play written by Kerouac (and I believe there are only two that he ever wrote, the other one being Doctor Sax and the Great World Snake which was magnificently narrated by Creeley and others on a highly recommended CD + play package) introduces the reader to some fairly interesting hep-talk beat generation talk which is very fast-moving, hyperbolic and digresses off into all sorts of tangents. It soon becomes clear that the 'Milo' character is or is based on Neal Cassady while 'Buck' has to be Kerouac both because of his constant obsession with his drinking and also because of how he talks about his father's business which was destroyed by a flood (his dad's printing business was damaged in the Great Lowell Flood).Much of the talk is about nothing important or nothing specific but that IS the whole point of the beat ethos - not taking yourself or life as a whole too seriously.I found that Act II was more interesting than Act I because the dialogue of Act II, set at the horseraces, jumps back and forth from their usual day-to-day banter about what horse to bet on and why to the occasional deep, philosophical remark. It's a pity that you don't get many people who talk like this today.While the Beat Generation play is nowhere near as polished as Kerouac's timeless classic On the Road, it does still showcase the brilliance of Cassady and his ability to fascinate and hold people spell-bound by his conman double-talk. But how many conmen do you know who can also talk about famous writers, thinkers and philosophers in the same breath? My main 'gripe' I have with this book though was how late 'Irwin' (i.e. Ginsburg) comes into the picture. Not having such a key member of the Beat Movement (if not THE key member) in the story was a bad mistake to my mind because while Cassady might be an interesting talker who is able to con his way out of most situations, Ginsberg is an extremely intelligent and eloquent speaker minus the Cassady BS, who offers profound insight into a variety of subjects including McCarthyism, Buddhism and various states of consciousness just to name a few. Just watch any of the rare interviews or video footage with the beats on youtube or the web and you will soon see the beauty of Ginsberg's mind and his amazing eloquence (at least in interviews). In fact, I find Ginsberg's interviews even MORE interesting than most of his poetry, with the obvious exceptions of Howl, America and Kaddish. If you are a fan of the beats though, I would definitely recommend this. It's not going to shake your world as much as On the Road or The Dharma Bums or even Howl might, but it's definitely worth the price of admission. Finally, I also think that Corso may have been right in saying that the meaning of 'beat' originally meant 'tired' or 'worn out' and that is what Huncke originally meant. Incidentally, a common misconception is that Kerouac coined the term. Wrong. Huncke did but Jack picked up on it and used it in his novels and that is how he ended up with the laurel of 'King of the Beats' bestowed upon him by the scathing press & Madison Avenue. Later, Kerouac made the connection between 'beat' and 'beatific' but as Corso points out, and I think correctly, that was just an afterthought or post hoc realization that Jack made about some semantic similarities and one obviously influenced by his Catholic upbringing and background. This is a quick read and worth reading once but the roman candles are not quite burn, burn, burning as much as they did in other works like On the Road.

  • Gabriela
    2019-01-29 06:47

    For anyone obsessed with the Beat Generation, like me, this is a gem. A play, completely based on the beats and written by a beat. Need I say more?

  • David Rullo
    2019-01-26 11:39

    Bad Kerouac but a worse play. Usually there's a flow to Kerouac's language and I expected to see that here instead I found disjointed scenes, conversations going nowhere but somehow missing their expected destinations while getting bogged down in bad dialogue mixing horse racing and Buddhism. There's so much good Kerouac out there pass by this dud.

  • Aimee
    2019-01-24 11:43

    This confused me too much to actually enjoy. I only got to the end of the first act but it was such convoluted nonsense about Buddhism and horse racing that it didn't inspire me much to continue. I get the premise that the play's meant to mirror real life in the nothingness that's really happening, but nonetheless it doesn't make it any good :~)

  • Mark
    2019-01-19 12:30

    Is holy holy???

  • Leigh Koonce
    2019-02-08 11:44

    Kerouac's lost play was pretty good. The 2nd act was a bit lost on me, as it involved lots of horseracing terms. The final act, though, was extremely funny. I would love to see a performance!

  • Brendan
    2019-01-26 05:33

    Short, rather forgettable, Kerouac's sole adult foray into drama is no major discovery, never quite reaching past mildly entertaining.

  • Mel
    2019-02-14 06:37

    Kerouac is one of my favourite authors of all time. But I must admit I don’t care for everything he does. This was a play he wrote that was going to become a screenplay and honestly it’s a bit Meh. Unlike in his books it’s not really obvious who the characters are supposed to be (apart from Neal). Jack only became obvious in the third act when he started drinking! In many ways I wonder if it was written as a reaction against the ideas of what the Beat Generation were. There was no drug use, no jazz, no travelling, no parties. Rather the three scenes comprised of guy’s hanging out eating breakfast after work, gambling at the race track and hanging out with a religious guy in a suburban household. The scenes are without purpose but they are also without the charm of the normal conversations within a Kerouac book. I think just having dialogue and missing the prose takes away some of the affection towards the characters, who honestly come off sounding rather stupid and lame. The introduction mentions how women were un-emancipated in Kerouac’s world, which considering Carolyn being a working mother seems a bit unfair. My favourite part was in the first chapter how the woman appeared in a very domestic role, serving breakfast and coffee to the men as they come home from work. However, when her husband does arrive he proudly announces that he should be able to get her hooked up with some H that day. Definitely not your typical American 50s housewife! I’m glad I found this book as I do want to read everything by Kerouac but I definitely wouldn’t say this was his best.

  • Benito
    2019-01-30 05:42

    Kerouac's one and only play, the manuscript was only recently discovered (2007) in a NY warehouse. The 3rd Act is largely familiar as the basis for the 1959 seminal 'Beat' short film "Pull My Daisy" which had voiceover narration by Keoruac to the silent actions of Allan Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso. It's been criticized as one of Jack's weaker works, but for my money what it lacks in dramatic narrative structure - Kerouac attempting to bring his free-flowing style from page to stage - it makes up for with it's lively and humorous portrayal of Beat buddies working the railroads, drinking, betting on the horses, playing around with absurdest Buddhist-text-inspired concepts and generally making the hard work of life frivolous and fun for their own sakes. The first two acts pretty much set up these hard-drinking, gambling dharma bum train workers and their odd free-verse aspiring-Bhodisattva mind-sets. The 3rd Act is the story of a local Catholic Bishop strangely versed in Buddhism who comes visit them at their home near the Bowery. Actually the short film "Pull My Daisy" did the 3rd act better than the play, though it's still worth reading for acts 1 and 2. You can watch the entire 26 minute film at

  • Angelique
    2019-01-27 10:37

    My first Kerouac and I'm really looking forward to reading On the Road now. I found Beat Generation to be an interesting play but none one HAS to have read. It took me the whole first act (out of three) to get used to the language and to get into the flow but then it was entertaining and I really enjoyed the second act. Most people prefer the third one, but I did not find it to be any funnier than the other two. Wondering why I'm not saying anything about the plot? It's basically non-existent - but there is a certain beauty in that. The OneWorld Classics edition includes an Introduction by A.M. Homes, which I really appreciated. Homes makes you eager to read the play and more works by Kerouac and other writers from the beat generation, and he also accomplishes to give you a good idea of the background of the play and what to expect on the following pages. This introduction was really helpful. This edition also includes a short biography and introduction to other works by Jack Kerouac. Both were really interesting to read and gave a good overview of Kerouac's life and what's going on in his works. I would recommend this to people interested in experimental plays and devoted Kerouac/beat generation fans.

  • Aaron
    2019-02-05 11:42

    My first experience with Kerouac comes in play form, and I'm honestly not really sure what to think. It is sort of stream of consciousness, but perhaps with a little more structure? It was pretty difficult to get into at first, but by midway through act two I was accustomed enough to the style to understand the (plot?).As the back cover states, Kerouac focuses on a group of individuals who have a very short distance to fall in order to reach rock bottom. The hope on display here is astounding, considering the reality of the situations in which the characters find themselves. It is a little sad I suppose, but I wasn't able to become too attached to the characters or story lines. I'd like to read "On the Road" and see if maybe after that "Beat Generation" makes more sense.

  • Nick
    2019-02-05 12:33

    Jack Kerouac could do a lot of things well, they say, but apparently playwriting was not one of them. This is a formless, motionless, and ultimately pointless play about....winos talking about betting on the horses. My fearless prediction is that they'll never make a movie out of it.

  • Matt
    2019-01-30 05:48

    This play did nothing for me. I couldn't get into the rhythm of the language and the lack of dramatic structure made this one a true dud. It had some okay speeches from a character here and there, but that, in no way, can carry a play.

  • Athena
    2019-01-31 09:49

    Didn't understand a word!

  • Shaun
    2019-01-26 13:36

    Kerouac's unique style works good in prose, but I'm not sure about drama though...

  • Fred
    2019-02-15 07:37

    Sorry, Jack, but this was a failed attempt.

  • jake
    2019-01-24 05:40

    glad he stuck to novels.

  • Lydia
    2019-02-16 10:42

    literally no point to that play. just a bunch of misogynist friends tramping around, getting drunk and betting on horses. not worth my time.

  • Katherine Freniere
    2019-02-13 09:29

    Oh man. 3 stars for making me laugh out loud. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a good read, but the absurdity of it all kept me entertained. It's like Seinfeld meets the Beats.

  • Ümit
    2019-02-17 12:26

    Jack Kerouac'ın bence pek de başarılı olmayan bir oyunu.

  • Robert
    2019-02-01 06:22

    If ya gotta ask who you won't want to read but if ya said Oh yeah ,read this or die !