Alex Blasdel

Affairs to Remember

The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats


Allen Lane 460pp £25 order from our bookshop

‘Dream Record: June 8, 1955’ was almost the last poem Allen Ginsberg ever wrote. In it, he interrogates the ghost of William S Burroughs’s wife, Joan. Burroughs had shot her dead in Mexico City in 1951 during what was, according to legend, a pie-eyed game of William Tell. (Instead of an apple, she supposedly had a champagne glass on her head.) ‘Joan, what kind of knowledge have the dead?’ Ginsberg asks in his elegant composition, which he wrote shortly after his twenty-ninth birthday and later called a survey of the major characters of the Beat Generation up to that time. ‘What do you remember of us?’

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