Responses to BEAT SOUND, BEAT VISION (2007)

Brian Dalton in his review for Beat Scene writes:

It must be a sign of the times. Laurence Coupe meshing writers such as Jack Kerouac, Alan Watts, Gary Snyder, Leonard Cohen, William Blake alongside musical iconic figures such as Jim Morrison of The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Nick Drake and others. It must be a delightful development for many to read about, seeing this line of descent, this family tree approach to how things grow. In a series of articulate essays Coupe stretches out his ideas and linkages, investigating who inspired who, casting Alan Watts in a central role alongside the omnipotent William Blake. … Some of Coupe’s theories are contentious but from this uniquely English perspective they are absolutely thought provoking.

Susan Rowland in her review for Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture writes:

There are secret histories. Even in the most flagrant and ostentatious of arts, popular music from the 1960s, there are secret, because unconsidered, affiliations and invocations. There are secret histories folded up in words as the etymologists and the rhetoricians knew. So what does it mean that ‘Beatles’ contains ‘Beat’ as in Beat poets? There are secret histories and histories of secrets, as Laurence Coupe shows in this stunning and authoritative new work. His book on the Beat poets, popular music and the secret traditions they espoused, encompasses mythology, Zen, the perennial philosophy, and a quest for the sacred. … Beat Sound, Beat Vision is a work of tremendous cultural imagination itself in revealing the vertical and horizontal paradoxes of the Beat vision. Reaching back into ecological myths of a sacred feminine earth, forward to condemn capitalism’s destruction of it, outwards to recognize, honour and mourn the other Native American culture, Beat Sound, Beat Vision brings a healing scholarship to the complex, corrupted yet still vibrant picture of popular culture of the last fifty years. All those who seek to belong to the truthful in our own age, who seek art that offers a sense of the sacred to the collective, all of us should read this book.

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