Cover image for The San Francisco Renaissance : poetics and community at mid-century
Title:
The San Francisco Renaissance : poetics and community at mid-century
Author:
Davidson, Michael, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
xvi, 248 pages ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780521258807
Format :
Book

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PS285.S3 D38 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Though the term "San Francisco Renaissance" is usually associated with the Beat movement, it was in reality a collage of different communities, often at odds with one another, whose agendas were social and political as much as aesthetic. These subcommunities provided important contexts for subsequent counterculture developments such as gay liberation, feminism, and the New Left long before those movements attracted widespread public attention. In his study of these various impulses Michael Davidson devotes chapters to central figures such as Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan, William Everson, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Spicer. He also examines the important but largely neglected context of women writers in a period dominated by misogynistic views. His final chapter brings things up to date by looking at developments in the Bay Area since the death of Jack Spicer.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Davidson offers an excellently conceived synthesis of literary criticism and cultural history and analysis. There are chapters on such central figures as Kenneth Rexroth, William Everson, Robert Duncan, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Spicer. Also included is a useful chapter dealing with the important but virtually ignored contribution of women writers involved in an environment dominated by misogynistic attitudes; particular attention is paid to the work of Helen Adam, Joanne Kyger, Judy Grahn, Diane DiPrima, and Denise Levertov. The closing chapter focuses on developments in the Bay Area since the death of Jack Spicer in 1965; in this context, the work of Robert Hass and Lyn Hejinian are emphasized. The volume includes a wide-ranging introduction dealing with the generative myths of the period, in addition to a discussion of the conflicting poetics, and of the sense of community and performance that prevailed among the writers. Thorough notes are included. This volume is recommended for all collections of contemporary American poetry. -L. Berk, Florida Keys Community College


Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: enabling fictions
1 The elegiac mode: rhetoric and poetics in the 1940s
2 'The darkness surrounds us': participation and reflection among the beat writers
3 'Spotting that design': incarnation and interpretation in Gary Snyder Philip Whalen
4 'Cave of resemblances, cave of Rimes': tradition and repetition in Robert Duncan
5 The city redefined: community and dialogue in Jack Spicer
6 Appropriations: women and the San Francisco renaissance
7 Approaching the fin de siFcle
Notes
Index