The influence of Beat Generation in the Latin American Literature in the 1960’s decade
The Beat Generation was a literary movement of the late 1940’s which was formed by a group of young American writers who rejected society’s conformism, materialism, post Second World War and close mindedness. This generation was composed of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, among others.These beat writers have an spontaneous style of writing and their lifestyle consisted of literature passion, listening to jazz music, alcoholism and drug abuse such as morphine, heroin and amphetamine, which according to Allen Ginsberg were used as a way to improve their writings. Kerouac wrote On the Road in which is symbolized what a Beat Generation is and thanks to this novel people knew aboutthis new American movement. The term “Beat Generation” was introduced by Jack Kerouac in 1948 to describe people who shared their same beliefs and ideas about America. In accordance with Kerouac the word “beat” meant “beat down”, “exhausted”, “down and out” and even “beatific”. However, some years later, the term “Beat” turned into “Beatniks” thanks to Herb Caen who fusioned the words “beat” and“Sputnik”which was the first space satellite launched by the Russian Government in 1957. Caen chosed these specific words because the Beat Generation was making a revolution in Americans’ perception of life and so was the Sputnik in spatial technology.
The Beat Generation had an impact around the world where their ideas were addopted by young people. As an example, the most famous English group inhistory took its name from this movement: The Beatles. Meanwhile in Mexico something similar was happening after the Mexican Student Movement in 1968. Some Mexican writers were influenced by the Beatniks like José Agustín, Parménides García, Sergio Mondragón, who is considered the biggest Mexican Beatnik, and some others. This movement was called “La Onda” which began in the early 1960’s.Mexican hippies also known as “Jipitecas” were one the precursors of La Onda. They were considered as infiltratos of the American Empire or a sort of “Cultural Colonization” (Colonialismo Mental, called this way by Carlos Monsiváis). During the Mexican Student Movement the Jipitecas began to disappear and Mexican people start talking about “Chavos de Onda”. The word “onda” was taken to define this newpost Tlatelolco ideology. The meaning of this term could be anything like a project , an adventure, an style, a way of thinking, mood or even a conception of the world. “To be in onda” meant to be under the effects of drugs, alcohol, or to follow a tendency in the way of dressing, thinking, speaking and also reject the Government system and its politics. In literature, the term “Onda” was givenby Margo Glantz an Ucranian woman who looked down on the way of writing due to her academic formation, she baptized this new way of writing as “La onda” in her book Onda y Escritura en México, jóvenes de 20 a 33 años.
La Onda not only influenced in social behavior of Mexican youth but also Music and Literature. In the one hand, regarding music, in 1971 plenty of rock bands made a performancein Avándaro a sort of Mexican Woodstock. On the other hand, Mexican novelists began to write similar stories to the Beatniks, as José Agustín did in his novel Se está haciendo tarde (It’s getting late, in its English title), which is considered as one of the most significant novels in Mexico. According to Gustavo Sainz the way of Jose Agustín’s writing is: “Un escupitajo a las buenas concienciasque inventaron rebeldes sin causa”.
Undoudtively, social and historical context always prevail in writers stories, as in Jack Kerouac and José Agustín novels, On the Road and Se está haciendo tarde, respectively. Mario Maffi points out: “Los años 50 son los de la incomodidad, del malestar, de la sickness profunda e inexplicable, de la inseguridad y del miedo; los beats fueron las...
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