Women of the beat generation Joyce Johnson, Diane di Prima, and Carolyn Cassady: Female agency in transitional times
Pantano, Patricia A.
MetadataShow full item record
This study intervenes in the subject of women associated with Beat movement through a close reading of their memoirs. Joyce Johnson, Diane di Prima, and Carolyn Cassady were three women who were instrumental in their own recovery by writing their narratives, which led to the emergence of Beat studies from the feminist perspective. To continue the study of the Beat generation through their voices is to reconsider the historical referent from the perspective of feminist theory. In turn, to relocate these women as agents of feminist reinvention that moves the discussion relating to gender and feminist discourses in a new direction. They subverted the dominant ideals and values in mainstream postwar America that marginalized women within the frame of their limited roles as housewives and mothers, while recreating the paradigm of the feminine in progressive and valuable ways. Women Beats were agents of self-evolvement and self-empowerment in an era of conservative consumer driven values. Their impact on feminist theory can now be interrogated as we refocus on the memoirs that have opened the door into their personal lives, and that allows us to reevaluate the postwar decade within the scope of the Beat generation as a cultural and literary movement that impacted American society throughout the 1950s.