Never stationary: examining the influence of creative destruction in the work of Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder

Madsen, Freyja (2013) Never stationary: examining the influence of creative destruction in the work of Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder. Masters thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

In this research I examine the influence that creative destruction had upon the work of Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder. My research aims to extend the work done by Philip Fisher in Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction, by interrogating how Kerouac and Snyder’s work was influenced by creative destruction in the post-war American economic climate. I will suggest that both the form and the content of Kerouac’s prose replicate these economic patterns, reflecting his complicity with American consumer culture. Adequately analysing Kerouac’s relationship with capitalist consumerism has enabled me to revaluate critical portrayals of the author as a countercultural icon. However, my simultaneous examination of Gary Snyder’s writing reveals a successful resistance to the corporate liberal culture of overconsumption, and to the cycles of creative destruction that created it. I suggest that Snyder’s immersion in ancient or so-called “primitive” cultures informed his rejection of capitalist socio-economic patterns, and that this rejection shaped the economical poetic form that reflects his political beliefs. Following these arguments, my research demonstrates that whilst Snyder’s political outlook led to an economical poetic style via an immersion in alternative cultures, Kerouac’s proximity to the corporate liberal culture of overconsumption limited his countercultural potential, but also shaped the content and from of his spontaneous prose.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > American Studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature > PS0185 By period > PS0221 20th century
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2013 13:05
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47204

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