American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke,Times Square Hustler,Inspired Beat Movement 1st Edition!

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The first biography of the hustler/junkie/writer who turned the Beats on to the drugs, sex, and postwar counterculture shaped their writing and radicalized American literature. American Hipster: The Life of Herbert Huncke, a Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement tells a tale of a New York sex worker and heroin addict whose deviance caught the imagination of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. Teetering between exhaustion and existential despair, Huncke (rhymes with “junky”) said, “I’m beat, man.” Portraits of Huncke appear in Junky (1953), Burroughs's acerbic account of his own heroin addiction; “Howl” (1956), the sexual explicit poem that launched Ginsberg’s career; and On the Road (1957), Kerouac’s best-selling novel immortalized the Beat Generation. But it wasn’t just Huncke fascinated these writers: they loved his stories. Kerouac called him a “genius” of a storyteller and “a perfect writer. Biographies of Kerouac and others pay tribute to Huncke’s in shaping the Beat Movement, yet no one until now has told his entire life story. American Hipster explores Huncke’s youthful escapades in Chicago; his complicated alliances with the Beat writers and with sex researcher Alfred Kinsey; and his adventures on the road, at sea, and in prison. It covers his relationship with his partner Louis Cartwright, whose 1994 murder remains unsolved, and his idiosyncratic career as an author and pop-culture icon. Written by Hilary Holladay, a professor of American literature, the book offers a new way of looking at the whole Beat Movement. Holladay’s interviews with Huncke's friends and associates, including representatives of the literary estates of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Huncke; her examination of Huncke’s unpublished correspondence and journals ; and her longtime study of the Beat Movement.

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