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San Francisco Renaissance

The Dharma Bums, The San Francisco Renaisance

an interlude of heightened literary activity based in San Francisco which is generally considered to have begun with a poetry reading in October 1955 at which Kenneth Rexroth introduced Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Philip Lamantia; Jack Kerouac recorded his impressions of the reading in The Dharma Bums (1958). Although frequently associated with the activity of the Beat Generation, it cannot be considered synonymous with that movement, as certain notable participants, including Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer, did not identify with the Beats. Other participating poets include Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose City Lights Bookshop and activities as the publisher of City Lights Books were intrinsic to the cohesion of interests the Renaissance represented. Much of the writing produced shared an anarchic and pacifist ideology as a basis for rejecting the increasingly uniform collective experience of post-war American society; Zen Buddhism and neo-romantic conceptions of the purity of nature are also essential to its philosophical character. The dissenting energies of the San Francisco Renaissance were of importance in the emergence of the protest movement against the Vietnam War and the general cultural liberalism of the later 1960s. Michael Davidson's The San Francisco Renaisance appeared in 1989. See also New York School of Poets and Black Mountain Writers.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: M(acha)L(ouis) Rosenthal Biography to William Sansom [Norman Trevor Sansom] Biography