And of course, the more I read by these fellows, and the more I read about them, the answer became obvious.
They were pulling one another along. If one had success, he allowed the others to ride his coattails. As soon as a member of their club-that-was-not-a-club had a hit, he used whatever influence that gave him to help a brother. And so, they pulled one another along, if not always up. Thus, we saw HOWL, and ON THE ROAD, and JUNKY, and GO, and so on. Ginsberg, especially, always seemed to be working behind the scenes with publishers trying to talk editors into taking on the work of one of his friends. Each seemed to do whatever he could to help the others achieve literary notoriety, if not always financial rewards (but often that, too). There seemed to be almost no jealousy among them when it came to their respective works. And it was because of this weird kind of camaraderie that they did, in fact, reward one another through these shared friendships.
One does not see a lot of this in modern times. I can't think of another such example of it, but it might exist beyond my experience. I've certainly witnessed almost no instances of it in my own career as a writer.
Burroughs, the child-molesting wife-murderer manages to show some brilliant insight on his old friend Kerouac.
|The three biggest of The Beats: starting second from left: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs. Lowlife scum who hit it big in the field of poetry and fiction.|