Beat Generation Cover Scans
March 4, 2008 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Book nerds everywhere will enjoy these scans of cover art from the works of Beat Generation authors William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and John Clellon Holmes. posted by dhammond (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Beat nerds too. Altho there's no such thing, man.
posted by nevercalm at 4:04 PM on March 4, 2008

This was my introduction to beat culture. I bought it in 1993, when I was 17 years old. If a thieving, alcoholic ex-friend of mine hadn't stolen my copy a few years later I could've provided that site with a better scan. Still, I think they understand.

Great post!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:29 PM on March 4, 2008

These are cool.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:48 PM on March 4, 2008

This one was my introduction. There was a newsagent on London Road which used to sell cheap American comics. Apparently, the ones that didn't sell would be used as ballast in the boats, and so I could pick up armfuls of stuff from the sixties for pennies. I'd normally buy DC comics, occasional Marvel stuff, Mad, Cracked and some of the old Horror Comics. Anyway, one day, I'm in there and I'm flicking through the remaindered paperbacks, and I pick up that NEL/Olympus Press copy of Junkie for -- I believe it cost 1s3d. Pre-decimalization, and all that. Would have been oh, 1969 or 1970, and I was 13 or so.

Coincidentally, Laurie Anderson presented a programme about Burroughs tonight on Radio 4. You can still listen to it online, so catch it before it disappears. It's worth your time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:09 PM on March 4, 2008

I read this edition of Junky when I was in college. I remember being disappointed that the pupil was shown dilated, as narcotics produce constriction...
posted by Tube at 5:34 PM on March 4, 2008

Beat nerds, beatniks, but not book nerds.
posted by caddis at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2008

Awesome post. I'm a huge Burroughs fan, so this was really interesting. I especially love the early Junky covers, when it was published as a pulp drugsploitation thriller under his pen name William Lee. I'd only ever seen the mid-90s US versions before, which were all pretty generic. Ah, the old youthful days of being completely knackered on exotic drugs and reading at random from Naked Lunch or Exterminator!... I think I'll make some opium tea and re-read Junky for the 80th time now.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:11 PM on March 4, 2008

I think they're facinating from a graphic design-nerd view too ... how the same title has been rendered through the decades. Even when the later reissues are trying to retain the '40s/'50s feel of the originals, they can't help but be influenced by their own time. (See the '88 version of "Go," which looks like a knockoff of "Less Than Zero" ... of course that's why I read it then, when I was 17.)
posted by lisa g at 8:09 PM on March 4, 2008

Ha ... whoever designed the 1971 Croatian cover of "On the Road" seems to have confused Beat with Beatles.
posted by lisa g at 8:43 PM on March 4, 2008

Love this. I really like being able to view different cultural, geographical and temporal cover art interpretations of the same titles, and I'd love to see a lot more like this.

If anyone has links to other sites that do this kind of thing, do share!
posted by taz at 2:33 AM on March 5, 2008

posted by criticalbill at 6:04 AM on March 5, 2008

This one was my introduction... and led to a life-long fascination, including being the subject of my University dissertation.
posted by InterfaceLeader at 7:37 AM on March 5, 2008

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