Religion and the Sixties

Paul Reifenheiser (
Wed, 07 Oct 1998 20:48:55 -0400


I have a question motivated by a book called <italic>The Sixties
Spiritual Awakening </italic>by Robert Ellwood. He chronicles the
religious shift from modernism to postmodernism in the U.S. (movement
away from organized religion to syncretism and alternative spiritual
realms/voices -- especially in the civil rights movement, student
protests, struggles with the war, counter-cultural movements, etc..)
but doesn't deal too much with works of art and literature.

I was wondering what this list thinks about Religion and American
Literature/Cultural Studies (or anything as text) in the Sixties: when
you think of religious texts for that decade what comes to mind? I am
concerned with texts that were actually written/created during the
span of the decade and not just ones read during that time. There are,
I think, some obvious texts -- <italic>Stranger in a Strange
Land</italic>, <italic>Cat's Cradle, Island, Crying of Lot
49</italic>, Vatican II texts, Timothy Leary's work, <italic>Giles
Goat-Boy</italic>, Death of God Theology, Flannery O'Conner's work,
<italic>The Secular City</italic>, Ginsberg's poetry, etc. The works
do not have to be specifically popular culture but those texts are
obviously appropriate. In general this is a personal question: what
American texts moved you or others spiritually in the sixties? Any
specific thoughts would be tremendously helpful to my work and would
be much appreciated.

Also, if anyone is unaware of Ellwood's work, it is quite good --
although it does have some flaws -- regardless it is an excellent look
at the decade (my apologies if it has already been discussed on this

Although I would love to see this discussed over the list, any
personal responses to me would be gladly accepted.

Thank you

Paul Reifenheiser

Dept of English

Florida State University