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Chandler Brossard, Pre-Kerouac Beat Novelist


Zig Zag

April 4, 2017

Here is another post I am publishing based on Seymour Krim’s 1960 anthology of the Beat Movement. Before each Beat writer Krim featured he wrote a short profile. What’s so fascinating about Krim and his little book is that it was written and published when the Beatnik culture was dominating America’s 1950s. So he writes from the perspective of the moment and with the crazy Beatnik vernacular that often was fodder for cartoons, satire, and ultimately Hollywood movies. Here is Krim’s profile of one of the pre-Kerouac Beat Movement novelists. In later years Brossard would seek to disassociate himself from the Beatnik image and go Establishment.

“Chandler won’t go for the present jazz thing, won’t go for action painting, Loden coats, black-stockinged chicks or any of the hip trademarks of the beat scene. A loner, but in triplicate. His first novel, ‘Who walk in Darkness,’ was written with the cool eye of a rifleman; his second never got the attention it should have; his plays haven’t jelled critically or commercially. He stands in odd relationship to his generation–quieter than when he burned his presence onto the literary scene in the late 40’s, more inner. Older, tireder. He has a gnarled maturity encased in a golden boy façade; an unusual cat who hasn’t quite made his fullest literary moves yet. Has the aware calculation of a deepsea diver and has already left his scar on his generation. It could and might go deeper. This selection is from ‘The Double Dealers,’ an unpublished novel”(85).

Seymour Krim published Brossard’s story “Béatilles,” for The Beats.


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Paul Varner