The Sixties and After

  • Stoddard Martin


Chandler died in 1959, Hammett in 1961, Steinbeck in 1968, Cain in 1977. All but Hammett were active till the end; and, though there was slackening of power in their later works, all retained considerable influence. Chandler and Steinbeck in particular bear relation to the movements of the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (1960) was itself derivative of the movement of a younger generation back to the populist road he had travelled in the 1930s. Jack Kerouac was the seminal figure in this movement, his roman à clef, On the Road (1957), its Bible. As Frederick Feied points out in his monograph No Pie in the Sky, Kerouac was last in a line of American practitioners of a genre that had its origins in Whitman but first major prose enunciation in London’s The Road (1907).1 The California lodestone had been influential in this genre’s development. Twain’s Roughing It was an early road book. Harte’s ‘My Friend, the Tramp’ was the first sympathetic literary depiction of its type of hero. Henry George provided one of the first analyses of this new type in Progress and Poverty (1880):


Metaphysical Exploration Great Writer Jazz Musician Romantic Loner Grateful Dead 
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Notes to Chapter Five: The Sixties and After

  1. 1.
    Frederick Feied, No Pie in the Sky: The Hobo as American Cultural Hero in the Works ofJack London, John Dos Passos, and Jack Kerouac (New York: Citadel, 1964) ch. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For Kerouac’s biography see Dennis McNally’s Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America (New York: Random House, 1979).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    An Interview with Allen Ginsberg’, The Beat Journey ed. by Arthur and Kit Knight (California State College, Penn.: the unspeakable visions of the individual, 1978) pp. 9, 12.Google Scholar
  4. 32.
    Malcolm Cowley tells of Kesey’s period as ‘the man whom other young rebels tried to imitate, almost like Hemingway at Montparnasse’. See ‘Ken Kesey at Stanford’ in Kesey, ed. Michael Strelow and the staff of the Northwest Review (Eugene, Oregon: Northwest Review Books, 1977 ) p. 3.Google Scholar
  5. 40.
    Jack Kerouac, On the Road ( New York: Viking, 1957 ) p. 9.Google Scholar
  6. 42.
    Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest ( London: Methuen, 1962 ) pp. 36–8.Google Scholar

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© Stoddard Martin 1983

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  • Stoddard Martin

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