Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dictionary of Literary Biography

Ann Charters was the first to embrace women in the term “Beat.” As editor in 1983 of the 2-volume Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America (Dictionary of Literary Biography), she featured ten women as main entries: Bonnie Bremser, Diane DiPrima, Carolyn Cassady, Lenore Kandel, Jan Kerouac, Joanne Kyger, Fran Landesman, Joanne McClure, Janine Pommy Vega, and Anne Waldman. Additionally, she features reminiscences by Carolyn Cassady and Joyce Johnson in the appendices.

Even before scholars “reclaimed” Beat women as the precursors to the feminists of the 1960s, and before many of the published memoirs by women of the Beat generation, Charters wrote:

“Among women of her generation, Diane DiPrima is the writer who by her life and work most embodies the definable patterns of the Beat Generation. Among other things, it is she who reminds us that the generation spent as much time in urban “pads” as it did “on the road”” (p149).

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