Allan Ginsberg’s Howl, William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and, Paul Goodman a novelist,playwriter and social activist; all advocates and adventurous men of original literary acclaim to the avant-garde, rebels in and of their time, garnering unsolicited reputation for challenging the buttressed and stalwart, civil-conservative institution of literature and civil-society at large; these great, inspirational authors and each provocatures of past little known, unfortunately, by many contemporary authors and public.
The ironic thread that strings these three men in particular, is not limited to their willingness to trash contemporary style, form and theme, the hallmarks of accepted and flourishing literature of their time but, their sexuality. Both Goodman and Burroughs were bi-sexual and Ginsberg, homosexual.
So what relevance does sexual-orientation have for their works being recognized as profound and revolutionary contributions to the literary realm given at times, the shocking crudeness and vulgarity of language describing in vile and gutteral detail, perceived deviant sexuality, heroin addiction and smoking of pot expressed in wildly random, convoluted style and form contrary to the conservative and conventional literary publications in and of their time?
Though to a considerably lesser extent today given current human and equal-rights legislative reforms; during the life-time of these men homosexuals and bisexual were heavily persecuted, deemed tarnished reprobate, sick people and legally classified as mentally ill and, subject to arrest if caught or reported performing sexual acts with other men often relegated to secrecy and cover of darkness.
It is no wonder given the harshness of the social environment imposed on these men and others of their era, would resort to free-form expression to expunge the hatred and hostility they all were grudgingly obliged to endure.