Article Title

The Beat "Pad"


In her article "The Beat 'Pad'" Heike Mlakar analyzes the importance of Joan Vollmer's and Hettie Jones's Manhattan apartments as centers for the upcoming avant-garde movement of the time in order to understand the meaning of "home" in postwar bohemianism in general and specifically for female Beats. In sensationalized late 1950s films and in print media, the Beats were associated with low-rent Beat "pads" in poor urban areas, in which wild all-night parties were held—sites of drug use, destitution, and sexual promiscuity. Both Vollmer and Jones contributed greatly to the formation of the Beat Generation by providing the perfect setting for the flourishing of the artistic scene that would change the postwar literary scene forever: it was here, in Vollmer's Apartment 51, that the cornerstone for a new era in literature was laid, as Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Kerouac lived there simultaneously from 1945 to 1946. Similarly, the "pads" Hettie Jones shared with then-husband Amiri Baraka served a similar function, namely to build up a homogeneous Beat identity.