Read The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems, 1937-1952 by Allen Ginsberg Free Online
Book Title: The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems, 1937-1952|
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The author of the book: Allen Ginsberg
Edition: Da Capo Press
Date of issue: October 10th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780306814624
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.92 MB
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Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) kept journals his entire life, beginning at the age of eleven. These first journals detail the inner thoughts of the awkward boy from Paterson, New Jersey, who would become the major poet and spokesperson of the literary phenomenon called the Beat Generation. The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice covers the most important and formative years of Ginsberg's storied life. It was during these years that he met Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, both of whom would become lifelong friends and significant literary figures. Ginsberg's journals--so candid he insisted they be published only after his death--also document his relationships with such notable figures of Beat lore as Carl Solomon, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke. Conversations with Kerouac, his beloved muse Neal Cassady, and others have been transcribed from Ginsberg's memory, and information will be found here relating to the famous murder of David Kammerer by Carr--a startlingly violent chapter in Beat prehistory--which has been credited in New York magazine as "giving birth to the Beat Generation." It was also during this period that he began to recognize his homosexuality, and to think of himself as a poet. Illustrated with photos from Ginsberg's private archive and enhanced by an appendix of over 100 of Ginsberg's earliest poems, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice is a major literary event.
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Read information about the authorIrwin Allen Ginsberg was the son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg, two Jewish members of the New York literary counter-culture of the 1920s. Ginsberg was raised among several progressive political perspectives. A supporter of the Communist party, Ginsberg's mother was a nudist whose mental health was a concern throughout the poet's childhood. According to biographer Barry Miles, "Naomi's illness gave Allen an enormous empathy and tolerance for madness, neurosis, and psychosis."
As an adolescent, Ginsberg savored Walt Whitman, though in 1939, when Ginsberg graduated high school, he considered Edgar Allan Poe his favorite poet. Eager to follow a childhood hero who had received a scholarship to Columbia University, Ginsberg made a vow that if he got into the school he would devote his life to helping the working class, a cause he took seriously over the course of the next several years.
He was admitted to Columbia University, and as a student there in the 1940s, he began close friendships with William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, all of whom later became leading figures of the Beat movement. The group led Ginsberg to a "New Vision," which he defined in his journal: "Since art is merely and ultimately self-expressive, we conclude that the fullest art, the most individual, uninfluenced, unrepressed, uninhibited expression of art is true expression and the true art."
Around this time, Ginsberg also had what he referred to as his "Blake vision," an auditory hallucination of William Blake reading his poems "Ah Sunflower," "The Sick Rose," and "Little Girl Lost." Ginsberg noted the occurrence several times as a pivotal moment for him in his comprehension of the universe, affecting fundamental beliefs about his life and his work. While Ginsberg claimed that no drugs were involved, he later stated that he used various drugs in an attempt to recapture the feelings inspired by the vision.
In 1954, Ginsberg moved to San Francisco. His mentor, William Carlos Williams, introduced him to key figures in the San Francisco poetry scene, including Kenneth Rexroth. He also met Michael McClure, who handed off the duties of curating a reading for the newly-established "6" Gallery. With the help of Rexroth, the result was "The '6' Gallery Reading" which took place on October 7, 1955. The event has been hailed as the birth of the Beat Generation, in no small part because it was also the first public reading of Ginsberg's "Howl," a poem which garnered world-wide attention for him and the poets he associated with.
Shortly after Howl and Other Poems was published in 1956 by City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The work overcame censorship trials, however, and became one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages.
In the 1960s and 70s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters. As the leading icon of the Beats, Ginsberg was involved in countless political activities, including protests against the Vietnam War, and he spoke openly about issues that concerned him, such as free speech and gay rights agendas.
Ginsberg went on publish numerous collections of poetry, including Kaddish and Other Poems (1961), Planet News (1968), and The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973), which won the National Book Award.
In 1993, Ginsberg received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (the Order of Arts and Letters) from the French Minister of Culture. He also co-founded and directed the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. In his later years, Ginsberg became a Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College.
On April 5, 1997, in New York City, he died from complications of hepatitis.