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A Sociological- and Psychological Study of San Francisco ""Beats concentrates on the Grant Avenue Colony (once tagged ""an open-air come and go mental hospital"") and the authors have used psychiatric techniques to evaluate the life there. Some 51 members were tested in this study made in 1958-1959; they have also provided many samples of their writing (they are as creative as was the Lost Generation even if the enduring values of their work cannot yet be determined); and their views are expressed, along with those of the press and social commentators who have harried them. The study also explores their habitat, the mystical meaning of beat (beatitude), their kicks, their behavioral symptoms, their language, their ""assault"" by the community- and the police, and concludes that the beats are not ""freaks""; they are Bohemians in the ""true, historic"" sense of the word, and they are for the most part sick- lost-lonely.... While the Beat unquestionably provide one of the liveliest peepshows around, the authors are quite non-judgmental in their scientific view of the Scene that they Make. As such, the spectator sports value is less than Lawrence Lipton's Holy Barbarians which also had the benefit of its earlier appearance. Another time differential to be considered: while hep was no longer hip in 1959, the indications are that hip is no longer in, in 1961.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1961
Publisher: Basic Books