This introductory chapter discusses the Beat movement, examining the word ‘Beat’, which is generally acknowledged to refer to the beat of bebop music. It then defines several related terms, including ‘spirituality’ and ‘mysticism’, and next surveys five faiths from which the Beats took spiritual inspiration in their search for the beatific vision. The chapter ends with a section on the twofold assumption addressed in this book, which is that popular song is worth taking seriously, regardless of its status in society.
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