Listen to Jack Kerouac Talk About What a Beat Is


Many thanks to Gothamist for tipping us off to this archival audio that WNYC posted of Jack Kerouac’s contribution to a debate on the existence of a “Beat Generation” that was held at Brandeis University back in 1958. The other panelists on-hand that evening included novelist Kingsley Amis, New York Post editor James Wechsler, and anthropologist Ashley Montagu. According to his good pal Allen Ginsburg, Kerouac, who was notoriously shy and hated making public appearances, was “slightly drunk but in good humor and funny — tho’ abused by philistines all around.” Click through to hear his seven-minute speech, an argument which he later expanded on here, and let us know in the comments if it reminds you at all of our recent exploration into what comes after the hipster.