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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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Poem by Allen Ginsberg, issued as the title work of a booklet (1956) for which Lawrence Ferlinghetti was tried and acquitted of publishing and selling obscene work. In long Whitmanesque lines, opening with “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,” part 1 presents these figures living and dying intensely in a modern hell which, in the briefer part 2, is denounced as the destructive product of Moloch's materialism, mechanization, and conformism. The concluding part 3 is a lyrical address of empathy from the poet to a friend confined in a madhouse as the victim of this society.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Allen Ginsberg (1926—1997) American poet