Apart from its use as a term in rhythm, Beat describes a (mostly American) literary and cultural movement that began in the late 1940s (Jack Kerouac coined the term in 1948) and continued into the 1960s. Beats portrayed themselves as countercultural radicals, often indulged in drugs and free love, and were often fans of jazz. Beat culture was a strong influence on the countercultural movements of the 1960s.

Their work is often shocking, and intentionally offensive to bourgeois sensibilities. Three of the most influential Beat works are Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, Allen Ginsberg's long free-verse poem Howl, and William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch. Other prominent Beats include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Michael McClure, and Neal Cassady. The movement was located primarily in New York and San Francisco.

From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
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