Started conversation May 22, 2001
I always thought that the term 'Beat', that Kerouac coined, was derived from the grander 'Beatific' meaning spiritually enlightened. Can anyone the pinpoint origins of the phrase more accurately?
Posted Jun 12, 2001
The impression I got was just a stretched use of the normal meaning of the word 'beat' - tired, worn out, etc., like he and his fellow beatists (but Kerouac in particular) were tired of traditional writing formats and wanted to try something more spontaneous and lyrical, which also connects with the influence of jazz on the writing. Also from them just being plain ol' worn out from all that travelling around. There's no proper definition, but some other peoples opinions of the derivation on the excellent 'literary kicks' website on the beat writers but based around Kerouac. I forget the actual address; just type 'literary kicks' into a search engine' if you're interested.
Posted Jul 4, 2001
I have checked out this web site before. I thought it was well constructed and well researched.
On a re-read of On the Road last week I came accross the line ( to paraphrase somewhat as I don't remember it verbatim ) " Dean was beat, the pure definition of beatific." I think this is maybe one of origins of the phrase.
Posted Apr 16, 2004
It is basically accepted that the term came from a conversation that Kerouac had with John Clellon. He said "this is the beat generation," but never explained what it meant.