They have become known as The Beat Generation; for Allen Ginsberg they were "just a bunch of friends looking to get published".
As writers, they were their own self-chroniclers, but Ginsberg was also their photographer.
In these images, selected from photographic agency Corbis, you can trace the early years of Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs as they moved towards the centre of the American literary consciousness.
Later photographs feature Ginsberg's New York peers, and a small selection of works by other photographers charts the influence of the Beats.
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