Academic journal article Journal of Beat Studies

Tools of the Trade: Testimonial for Ann Charters

Academic journal article Journal of Beat Studies

Tools of the Trade: Testimonial for Ann Charters

Article excerpt

Familiar with Ann Charters's seminal biography of Jack Kerouac from an early stage in my study of Beat literature, I have found other aspects of her wide-ranging scholarship to have been of greater importance to my subsequent concentration on the West Coast Beat Generation. I am especially grateful for her editing of Volume 16 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB), focused on the Beats. Each time I have researched Joanne Kyger, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, and more recently Michael McClure, I have consulted their respective entries, finding them to be detailed and exhaustive treatments of each writer. In addition, entries are profusely illustrated with photos, reproductions of book covers, and facsimile pages from journals and notebooks. An important feature to me in the appendices for the volume is a list of periodicals associated with the Beat Generation with cover images reproduced, expressing these little mags's inner spirit. Despite the fact that this collection dates from the 1980s, for me it is still one of the best sources for biographical information up to that time period.

Other projects of significance for me include Charters's work on Charles Olson. Olson/Melville: A Study in Affinities and her editing of Olson's lectures, The Special View of History, provide important contexts for Beat poetics addressed in the DLB volume. …

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