Herbert Huncke at Christine’s Restaurant, 1st Ave & 12th St, New York City, circa 1989. Allen Ginsberg Estate

HUNCKE is the singular witness to this nexus of mass hallucination of public opinion created deliberately by the bureaucracy and he was the most articulate early witness who was able to communicate it, he didn’t even try, but just by his very nature communicated the whole insight into other people and that broke open the whole crust of custom and acceptance and obedience and delusion that say innocent college kids like me maintained in the forties or that even Burroughs knew about and certainly opened up Kerouac to a sympathetic insight that hed never had before but which he was capable of because like Dostoyevsky he was able to look into crime and punishment and into the heart so Huncke became a favorite ands one of the few people that Kerouac wrote brilliantly about and Kerouac wrote brilliantly about Huncke, Burroughs, Cassady and Lucien Carr, he’s very serious when he writes them up, he doesn’t caricature them, he really gets their dignity, and it I think it was Huncke’s singular insight that cracked open American consciousness which is quite a claim to make for one person but I would say that’s it, that’s the catalyst.       — Allen Ginsberg, Literary History of the Beat Generation, Naropa (Summer 1982)