Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


Through examining 1950s American culture and literature, two writers are decidedly intertwined through intellect and influence. Civil rights activist James Baldwin and far-out Beatnik Allen Ginsberg are comparable literary figures: both successfully swayed public opinion by utilizing the function of religiosity. Both voiced their dissent in poetry, prose, or essays with a peculiar kind of secular fervor. Ginsberg and Baldwin shied away from the traditional religious circles of their upbringings—Judaism and Christianity—and replaced that intellectual space with doctrines of their own design. Ginsberg and Baldwin used social change as means of appealing to mass audiences; their work functions as structured religions do, and the two writers became activists as well as secular messiah-figures.