From classic authors like Robert Louis Stevenson and John Steinbeck to controversial counter-culturists like Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson…California’s coastal communities have inspired authors for decades. The seaside towns and bustling cities that line the Pacific have fueled the minds and creative juices of some of the greatest musicians, writers and artists of our time. Follow UK writer Chris Flavell on his trip as he explores the West Coast cities that have provided inspiration for some of America’s most iconic literature in his article The Beat Goes On: Exploring the West Coast’s Literary Haunts. Chris travels through California from San Francisco to Cambria before arriving in Las Vegas on his journey that explores the spots that influenced these creative geniuses.
Chris’s adventure begins here:
WRITER Jack Kerouac in his seminal novel On the Road wrote of the fabulous white city of San Francisco and her eleven mystic hills framed by the blue Pacific with its advancing wall of potato-patch fog.
Those haunting words fresh in my mind began a trip to explore the homes, haunts and inspirations of writers of the West Coast of America. From its bustling cities, small towns and mesmerizing coastline, each has offered some of the world’s greatest writers a place to work, play and create. Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others that made up the Beat Generation of writers all have links to San Francisco. Jack London and Mark Twain also spent time wandering its hilly terrain on route to penning some of history’s classic literature.
A short ride down the coast brings you to John Steinbeck country. Land that helped forge such classics as Of Mice And Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden.
Further still brings you to the refuge of Henry Miller in Big Sur. Then, as you begin to cut in-land and head to the hot, dusty roads leading to America’s party city of Las Vegas, you don’t have to look far before Hunter S. Thompson’s crazy journey in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas begins to take shape.
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