miércoles, febrero 15, 2006

LA GENERACIÓN BEAT



El término Beat Generation surge durante una conversación entre Jack Kerouac y John Clellon Holmes en 1948. La intención de sus miembros no era la de nombrarla, sino la de "desnombrarla". A finales de 1952 apareció en el New York Times Magazine un artículo de John Clellon Holmes titulado "This is the Beat Generation " que captó la atención del público.

El término comenzó a utilizarse de tal manera, y sin discriminación alguna, hasta el punto de que en 1959 Kerouac considerara necesario corregir públicamente el abuso de esta denominación en los medios de comunicación, donde se empleaba con las connotaciones de "totalmente vencido", o fracasado, o en el sentido de "ritmo". Jack intentó mostrar el sentido correcto de beat sugiriendo su relación con palabras como "beatitud" y "beatífico", conexión que se explicaba porque, en sus ideales, el movimiento beat se sentía atraído por la naturaleza de la conciencia orientada a la comprensión del pensamiento oriental, hacia prácticas de meditación, etc. Esta "redefinición" que Kerouac hacía del término pretendía orientar hacia imágenes simbólicas del estilo de la derrota u oscuridad necesarias, precedentes a la apertura a la luz y la supresión del ego que conducen a la iluminación religiosa.

Allen Ginsberg, el más famoso de los poetas beatniks, observaba en el prólogo al libro "The Beat Book", editado por Anne Waldman y Andrew Schelling, otro posible significado: "acabado", "completo", en la noche oscura del alma o en la nube del no saber. E incluso "abierto", en el sentido whitmaniano de "apertura a la humildad". Pero, independientemente del significado que quiera dársele, el uso de Beat Generation pasa a designar un movimiento literario formado por un grupo de amigos que desde mediados de los años cuarenta habían trabajado juntos escribiendo poesía y prosa, y que compartían una idea de cultura y aficiones o fuentes de inspiración similares, tales como la música jazz.



El grupo inicial estaba formado por Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, Herbert Huncke, John Clellon Holmes y Allen Ginsberg. En 1948 se unieron Carl Salomon y Philip Lamantia; en 1950 Gregory Corso; y en 1954 Lawrence Ferlinghetti y Peter Orlovsky.

Este grupo, que acabó denominándose la Generación Beat, revitalizó la escena bohemia cultural norteamericana. Su energía se desbordó hacia los movimientos juveniles de aquella época (On the Road -En el camino, 1957- de Kerouac, asumió carácter de manifiesto universal de una juventud que quería huir de lo establecido), y fue absorbida por la cultura de masas y por la clase media hacia finales de los años cincuenta y principios de los sesenta.

Sus ideales abogan por un arte como manifestación de las texturas de la conciencia. Su canto a la liberación espiritual derivó hacia una liberación sexual, particularmente homosexual, que hizo de catalizador en los movimientos de liberación de la mujer y de los negros. Llevados por una visión tolerante y no-teísta, un antifascismo cósmico, un eclecticismo... se interesaron por las sustancias psicodélicas como herramientas de conocimiento.

Centraron su lucha en contra de los valores tradicionalistas y puritanos de Estados Unidos, contra el "American Way of life", un repudio implícito a los valores comerciales, para cuyo reemplazo proponían los ideales expuestos por Whitman en "Hojas de hierba".

Los beatniks, los miembros de la Generación Beat y sus partidarios, no son tan novedosos como se creyó cuando aparecieron, y fueron suprimidos del escenario por la publicidad. Una paradoja: luchaban contra la sociedad de consumo y resultaron vencidos por una de las poderosas armas sociales.

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