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1 See, for example, Rainer or Adams. 2 Cinthia Gannett in Gender and the Journal also claims that the journal is a genre associated with women and makes a distinction between the ‘often invisible, popular-culture tradition of journal or diary keeping, primarily among women, as well as a more public and elite tradition of journal keeping that is primarily male-affiliated’ (100). In tracing the history of the journal and how it came to be associated with feminine discourse, she identifies ‘four strands’ of the journal or diary: the public journal for public recordkeeping , the travel journal, the commonplace book as a place to record quotes, observations , notes and drafts often used by scholars or writers, and the spiritual journal or diary (107–10). 3 I use the term ‘Beat avant-garde’ (and later simply ‘Beat’) to draw together writers associated with the East Coast Beat Generation and the West Coast’s San Francisco Renaissance. These movements were united by an interest in poetic and stylistic innovations in literature incorporating slang, colloquialisms, and obscenity to shocking effect and a concern for the promotion of nonconformist and anarchist social views that would distinguish them from mainstream and middle-class American culture. 4 Suggesting that there are four approaches to the private diary (‘a form of subjectivity, a practice in everyday life, an historical document and a fictional form respectively’), the editors of Marginal Voices, Marginal Forms – a series of essays that grew out of a 1997 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 4, fall 2004 J A N E E . F A L K Journal as Genre and Published Text: Beat Avant-Garde Writing Practices I N T R O D U C T I O N Recent texts on self-actualization, creativity, and writing describe how keeping a journal can improve one’s life and one’s ability to write. The 1 women’s movement, with its emphasis on genres traditionally associated with women and on recording the inner life, may have stimulated this interest in journal-keeping. In ‘Line. On the Line. Lining Up. Lined with. Between the Lines. Bottom Line,’ Kathleen Fraser notes the interest of women writers in the mid-1970s in the ‘on-the-run notational form of the journal or daybook – a private receptacle for distilled observation – something not so finished and official as a poem, yet a site for close reading of the subject (the shifting self ...)’ (169).2 In the 1950s and 1960s, the primarily male writers associated with the Beat avant-garde were also journal keepers and notebook carriers and were even publicly associated with the practice. Not only did these writers keep 3 a variety of types of journals (the travel journal, the commonplace book, and the dream diary, for example), but they sought publication for their journals, treating this traditionally marginal genre as no less valid and important than their poems or novels.4 992 jane e. falk conference on diaries in European literature – add: ‘From all of these perspectives, the diary has often been seen as a marginal phenomenon’ (6–7). 5 E-mail to the author, 16 September 2002. 6 The notebook and journal were such ubiquitous aspects of beat culture that Ed Sanders’s satire on the Beat counterculture of the 1950s, Tales of Beatnik Glory (1975), refers to journal practice in several tales. In ‘Vulture Egg Matzoh Brei,’ John Barrett, denizen of the Village, thinks himself a great poet as he ‘scribbled his eyeball-data into his notebooks, smoothing and polishing the ripped images, everything holy, everything notable.’ In 1959 Barrett is working on notebook 47 in a series begun 15 June 1957 – which ‘did not exhaust itself until 1963 with number128. The entireexquisite irruption being subsequently purchased bythe Harris Collection at the Brown University Library’ (101). Sanders probably had Kerouac’s practice of scribbling into notebooks in mind. 7 Ed White remembers Kerouac ‘carrying his little notebooks around, filling them up. He printed faster than most of us can write’ (Gifford and Lee, 159–60). A number of Kerouac’s pocket notebooks are to be found in the Kerouac archive in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. They are most...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 991-1002
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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