This thesis deals with some of Allen Ginsberg's most important poems as expressions of his political thought. I have wanted to explore Ginsberg's political commitment as expressed in his poetry, since it is already well known that he was an active political person. I have also wanted to describe how his political thoughts are communicated from his early years as a fairly unknown poet, all the way to his final poems, published after his death in 1997.
Chapter 1 gives an ideological background sketch. I have included a chapter of this kind since much of Ginsberg's upbringing, and his influences as a young man, are often referred to in his poetry. A chapter on his ideological background will thus, in many ways, serve as a framework for my further exploration of his political thought.
Chapters 2 through 6 deal with the actual poetry. Since Ginsberg's production is so vast, I have had to choose which poems to analyze very carefully, and I have chosen to focus on poems that have been considered his most influential ones, such as "Howl", "Kaddish", "Wichita Vortex Sutra", and "Plutonian Ode", but I have also studied other poems which deal with issues of politics and social criticism.
Throughout my analysis I have wanted to explore the development of themes that focus on politics and social criticism throughout Ginsberg's career. This means that I have studied closely whether his political opinions changed over the years, and whether his political commitment was equally evident at all times throughout his artistic life. I have sought to get an idea of what Ginsberg's political commitment was about and what political issues were the ones closest to his heart; from this I have tried to place him in the political landscape. I have also wanted to see whether his politics were mostly general, or whether they were closely linked to concrete episodes/issues in contemporary political history.
My concluding chapter attempts to tie up my findings, showing the most salient aspects of Ginsberg's political writing. I believe that these findings may shed important light on a surprisingly neglected field of Ginsberg's scholarship.