Texts of the 60's

Grant Jenkins (Grant.M.Jenkins.14@nd.edu)
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 15:47:30 -0400

I have just joined this list and was intrigued by the current discussion on
60's texts. Ironically, I have been thinking much on this subject because
I had been trying to decide which texts to include in my class at Notre
Dame on the literature, film, and music of the 1960's.

At any rate, we have started the semester with Ed Dorn's _Gunslinger_, for
better or worse, and I bring this up because I have noticed many people
mentioning "war poetry" (or protest poetry), but very few mention poetry
that is not overtly about Vietnam involvement. _Slinger_, I feel, embodies
many of the issues, ideas, and vibes of the 60's yet is very prophetic of
many of the forms (music videos, western parodies, cyberpunk, humorous
sci-fi, etc) that are prevalent today. Although it can be at times
difficult to read, I think it provides a good introduction to the 60's for

Perhaps this ongoing discussion is focusing on texts that were more widely
read in the 1960's and perhaps more "influential." Yet no other text that
I know of (with the exception perhaps of The Beatles corpus) enacts certain
modes of reading and consciousness that were in the air of the time. The
power of this text is that it transforms the reader's mindset by disrupting
and debilitating comfortable, conventional reading/hermeneutical
strategies. It is not "about" the war, but _Slinger_ invokes the very
issues, relations, and world-views that make the Vietnam War and its
protests possible.

This is a text that I feel should not be left out of the discussion. Does
anyone else have an opinion and/or reading of this text that might be
helpful to me or my students? Any input would be appreciated.

Grant Jenkins
Department of English
University of Notre Dame
University Seminar ENGL 180J-08
"You Say You Want a Revolution? The Literature, Film, and Music of the 1960's"
Check out our Revolution Web site: http://www.nd.edu:80/~gjenkins