Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2007 Newsletter

Upcoming Exhibitions

Spiral-bound notebook

Cover of journal Jack Kerouac kept while
preparing to write On the Road.

On the Road with the Beats
February 5 - August 3, 2008

This exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the cities, landscapes, and communities that fostered and shaped the most important works of the Beat Generation, from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s. Writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso are deeply identified with cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Tangier, Calcutta, London, and Paris. Indeed, without "visiting" these places, one cannot truly grasp the nature of the Beat scene. Presses in London and Paris printed writings that had been deemed obscene in the United States; a poetry reading in San Francisco vaulted Ginsberg's "Howl" to the sphere of literary myth; and Neal Cassady's scrawled description of a bus ride to Kansas City sparked Jack Kerouac's method of "spontaneous prose." The exhibition places the Ransom Center's most important Beat holdings into geographical context and includes special sections that highlight important themes such as jazz, marriage, and the beatnik phenomenon of the late 1950s.

Jack Kerouac's scroll manuscript of On the Road will be on display from March 7 through May 31. The first 48 feet of this 120-foot "page" will be visible in the gallery. This visually stunning first draft has no paragraph or chapter breaks, and the characters are all referred to by their real names. This manuscript is on loan form the collection of James S. Irsay. © Estate of Anthony G. Sampatacacus and the Estate of Jan Kerouac.


Boob Number Three, Jess, 1954. Collage.

Jess: To and From the Printed Page
February 12 - April 6, 2008

The Ransom Center will host the traveling exhibition Jess: To and From the Printed Page, which focuses on artist Burgess Collins, known as "Jess" (1923-2004). Influential as an artist in his own right, Jess emerged in the 1950s from within the literary context of Beat culture in San Francisco. The exhibition explores how his imagery became a form of dialogue with the written word. Included in the exhibition are the artist's "paste-ups," collages composed of old book illustrations and photographs from magazines, and the celebrated impastos from his "Translation" series. The exhibition features more than 50 works of original art, dated between 1952 and 1993, including collages the artist made for publication, the books and magazines in which they were reproduced, key paintings, and audio recordings of the artist reading his poetry.

Crowd of people

(Detail) Harry Mattison, After bomb explosion
near cathedral, people try to escape being
, March 30, 1980.

Inside El Salvador
April 17 - August 3, 2008

In April 2008, The University of Texas at Austin will host a major conference on El Salvador called Image Memory and the Paradox of Peace, jointly sponsored by the University's Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the School of Journalism, and the Harry Ransom Center. As part of this collaboration, the Ransom Center will present the photography exhibition Inside El Salvador.

The 1979 coup d'état in El Salvador sparked a brutal twelve-year civil war. Events such as the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the murder of four U.S. churchwomen drew worldwide attention to the violence that rocked this tiny county. In 1983, 30 renowned international photojournalists on assignment for Time, Newsweek, LIFE, The New York Times, Paris-Match, and Stern contributed to a book and exhibition that chronicled the daily life of the people during the height of the civil war. The exhibition features 67 black and white photographs that depict those directly involved with the conflict, including the guerillas and the U.S.-aided army, as well as the impact upon the civilian population. The photographs are drawn from the Ransom Center's collections and were purchased as the gift of the Marlene Nathan Meyerson Family Foundation. The images are accompanied by texts written by poet Carolyn Forché.  

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