Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Rob Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Carmona

Third Advisor

Dr. David Anshen


Mack Thomas enjoyed both an audience seat and a role in the Beat Generation. He lives the life that fits one of his mottos, “if at first you don’t succeed, quit”. Thomas was the author of two autobiographical novels Gumbo and The Total Beast, a jazz and literature columnist for Grove Press in the 1950s and 1960s. Thomas was also a jazz musician worthy to share the stage with Miles Davis, inventor, and entrepreneur among numerous other interests. His friendship with William S. Burroughs was forged by their Texas ties while they were neighbors living in Paris, France and offered him a clear view of other Beat Generation writers including Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Jack Kerouac. If not for his overwhelming desire for a private life, he may well have been every bit as well-known as his peers.


Copyright 2015 James B. Welton. All Rights Reserved.