ENGL 19860 Ladies Nite: Women Beatniks in Literary Counterculture
"Three writers do not a generation make." Often relegated to status of wife or muse in the writings and history of the Beat Generation, women's literary contributions to this experimental zeitgeist remain largely unknown and unread. This course explores the dynamic body of work produced by female Beatniks from the 1950s-1970s. We first trace the Beat Generation's aesthetic roots within the experimental poetics of Romanticism and American Transcendentalism and then shift our focus to post-war Greenwich Village, Mexico, and the American West. We will delve into works from authors like Elise Cowen, Diane diPrima, Denise Levertov and Lucia Berlin, to investigate how women's authorship across place and form--chapbooks, poetry, memoirs, travel journals and films--gave voice to a vibrant, complex feminism awash with psychedelic drugs, sexual liberation and the metaphysical exploration deeply inherent to Beat counterculture.