Hard to Be a Saint in the City
The Spiritual Vision of the Beats
It’s been said that Jack Kerouac made it cool to be a thinking person seeking a spiritual experience. And there is no doubt that the writers he knew and inspired—iconic figures like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and Michael McClure—were thinkers seeking exactly that. In this re-claiming of their vision, Robert Inchausti explores the Beat canon to reveal that the movement was at heart a spiritual one. It goes deeper than the Buddhism with which many of the key figures became identified. It’s about their shared perception of an existence in which the Divine reveals itself in the ordinary. Theirs is a spirituality where real life triumphs over airy ideals and personal authenticity becomes both the content and the vehicle for a kind of refurbished American Transcendentalism.