Bachelor of Arts in English
James Tackach, Ph.D.
The 1950s are often hailed as the pinnacle of American religiosity. Although Christianity dominated the country’s religious landscape, a “counter-religion” also emerged, led by a group of poets and writers known as the “Beats,” who placed emphasis on decidedly un-Christian practices: sex, drugs, and travel. Yet their literary works, which came to define their beliefs system, contain evidence of a deep spirituality. This thesis examines the fundamental beliefs and practices of this unique brand of American religion through two of the best-known works of the Beat generation: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.
Peters, Megan, "Searching for the 'Ancient Heavenly Connection': 1950s Faith Movements and the 'Counter-Religion' of the Beats" (2020). English Theses. 34.