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Screenwriting History #23 And the BEAT Goes On, the Writers of the 1950s

The 1950s saw a cultural shift in American society.  Aspiring writers cast off the traditional conservative conformity of their fathers and grand-fathers for a different path. This group of new thinkers was called the "Beat Generation."  Defined as a writing movement in the wake of World War II, this group promoted what was called "Beat" culture which rejected cultural norms, conformity, and began a new experimentation with language, drugs, and sexuality. These Beats would be the precursor to the 1960s counter-culture movement known as the "hippies," which would blossom into an even lager cultural shift.

Beat writers and artists flocked to Greenwich Village, New York, which became a central hub for performance and interaction. Eventually the term "Beatnik" would be coined to describe the people and the movement.

Writers and their work included: William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959), Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957). The Beatniks and their movement would influence film and screenwriting deeply by the 1960s.

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