Re: Texts [4 responses]

Anne Marie Ellison (
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 16:34:14 -0400


How about Mailer's novel _Why We Are in Vietnam_ and _Naked and the Dead_,
Howard Zinn's text on American history and demystifying/romanticizing it.
Sartre and Camus were quite important among the students at the Sorbonne
and Nanterre, just as the Beats were for Americans: _One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest_, _On the Road_, etc. Lefebvre and Tourain, both
radical profs in France, had some real impact on the students in Paris -
whether through their writing or their teaching may remain to be seen.
What about Guy Debord and some of the Situationist International writings:
I know they were influential in France, but _Society of the Spectacle_
trickled into the US through the underground presses and was a cogent
discussion of the festival/absurdist approach to modern protest.

Ironic sidenote: I'm a student at the University of Michigan, where
they just set up a huge technology palace called the Media Union. The MU
is setting up an online weather reporting program called the "Weather

-Anne Marie Ellison


I always find it startling when I see the huge interest there is in things
written in the 60's. It has never been clear to me if songs are texts or
not. I have never been much interested in fiction, but have read alot, so
that kinda leaves me out of the discussion. But I can't help feel that my
work should be included or at least 'hope so'. At least it was my
intention to reflect the times all the way from the war, to drugs, through
womens Lib, and on to whales. I dont think it was because I was the only
one building a body of this type of work. Or was it that we provided the
background music and it is now taken for granted? I never went to
University so missed out on much profundities. Is it a class thing: rock
and roll is not to be taken seriously because it is pop-ular not like
poety; art; literature. What is the social value of the F-CK cheer? Idono
waddyatnk? cheers, cjm


Here's a small list of the books that were important in the Haight
Ashbury in the late 60's - this is a really short list, tho; if anyone
is interested in more, let me know:
Timothy Leary - Psychedelic Experience
Timothy Leary - Psychedelic Prayers
Reps - Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
D.T. Suzuki - Haiku also History of Zen
Spaulding: Lives and Teachings of the Masters of the East
The I Ching: Bollingen Edition
Alice Bailey: all her many books
Alexandra David-Neal: The Secret Oral Teachings of Tibet
Patanjali: Yoga Aphorisms
Lao Tse: The Tao Te Ching
The Bible

these are a very few of the books that were on everyone's shelves and
minds. To teach a history of the 60's without an understanding of the
spiritual connotations and explosion of 1965-66-67-68 is to rewrite
love, Elizabeth

P.S. My computer is iffy- I may or may not be able to receive mail this



I agree with you that *Gunslinger* is an excellent 60s text, and one that
seems well-suited to your class. I've always hesitated to teach it
primarily because I think students *do* find it too difficult--but I've
really only had occasion to teach it to undergrads--I'm not sure how it
might play at the grad level.

But I also think that many who've been responding to this thread--and
someone correct me if I'm wrong--have been citing texts that were widely
read and/or culturally influential in the period. My sense of
*Gunslinger*--and again, correct me if I'm wrong--is that it had some
influence on the shaping of avant-garde poetic practices of the era, but
not much else. It's an anomaly of the period--a long poem in the
Poundian/Zukofsky/Olson tradition but primarily narrative--a genre that
seems to have had very little purchase in 60s literary culture.

I'd be interested in your approach to the poem as 60s text--does it have
a broader cultural-historical significance I'm missing? How do you teach
it? How do you approach it as "political poetry" of the period?

Michael Bibby