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Jack Kerouac

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Jack Kerouac's (1922-1969) On the Road was published in 1957, six years after its completion. It went on to become a bestseller and is considered the quintessential statement of the 1950's literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac did stints at Columbia University, in the Navy and in the Merchant Marine before meeting Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady, who would influence the rest of his life and his writing. Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of forty-seven.

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Jack Kerouac's (1922-1969) On the Road was published in 1957, six years after its completion. It went on to become a bestseller and is considered the quintessential statement of the 1950's literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac did stints at Columbia University, in the Navy and in the Merchant Marine before meeting Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady, who would influence the rest of his life and his writing. Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of forty-seven.

Books by thisAuthor
  • On the Road (Essential Edition)

    On the Road (Essential Edition)
    (Penguin Essential Edition)
    Jack Kerouac's groundbreaking novel—soon to be a major motion picture with a star-studded cast In what is sure to be one of the major cinematic events of 2012, Jack Kerouac's legendary Beat classic, On the Road, will finally hit the big screen. Directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries; Paris, Je T'Aime) and with a cast of some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams (Julie & Julia, The Fighter), Tom Sturridge, and Viggo Mortensen (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Road), the film will attract new fans who will be inspired by Kerouac's revolutionary masterwork.

    The Dharma Bums

    The Dharma Bums
    (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
    The Dharma Bums was published one year after On the Road made Jack Kerouac a celebrity and a spokesperson for the Beat Generation. Sparked by his contagious zest for life, the novel relates the adventures of an ebullient group of Beatnik seekers in a freewheeling exploration of Buddhism and the search for Truth.

    On the Road

    On the Road
    On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

    Big Sur

    Big Sur
    (Penguin Ink)
    Written some time after his best-known works, Big Sur follows Jack Kerouac's comedown from his carefree youth and unwanted fame, presenting his mature confrontation of some of his most troubling emotional issues.

  • And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

    And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
    In the summer of 1944, a shocking murder rocked the fledgling Beats. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both still unknown, we inspired by the crime to collaborate on a novel, a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and art, obsession and brutality, with scenes and characters drawn from their own lives. Finally published after more than sixty years, this is a captivating read, and incomparable literary artifact, and a window into the lives and art of two of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.

    Orpheus Emerged

    Orpheus Emerged
    Recently discovered by his estate, this Kerouac novel chronicles the passions, conflicts and dreams of a group of bohemians searching for truth while studying at university.

    Wake Up

    Wake Up
    A Life of the Buddha
    Jack Kerouac?s profound meditations on the Buddha?s life and religion In the mid-1950s, Jack Kerouac, a lifelong Catholic, became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that had a significant impact on his ideas of spirituality and later found expression in such books as Mexico City Blues and The Dharma Bums. Originally written in 1955 and now published for the first time in paperback, Wake Up is Kerouac?s retelling of the life of Prince Siddhartha Gotama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong search for enlightenment. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a penetrating account of the Buddha?s life and a concise primer on the principal teachings of Buddhism.

    Dr. Sax

    Dr. Sax
    “Kerouac dreams of America in the authentic rolling rhythms of a Whitman or a Thomas Wolfe, drunk with eagerness for life.”—John K. Hutchens

  • Kerouac: Selected Letters

    Kerouac: Selected Letters
    Volume 2: 1957-1969
    The first volume of Jack Kerouac's selected letters, published in 1995, was hailed as an important and revealing addition to Kerouac scholarship. This second and final volume, comprising letters written between 1957, the year On the Road was published, and the day before his death in 1969 at age forty-seven, tells Kerouac's life story through his candid correspondence with friends, confidants, and editors—among them Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joyce Johnson, and Malcolm Cowley. Documenting his continuing development as a writer and his travels, love affairs, and complicated family life, the letters also reveal Kerouac's amazing courage in the force of criticism and his never-ending quest to be the best writer possible. Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 offers unparalleled insight into the life and mind of this giant of the American landscape.

    The Sea Is My Brother

    The Sea Is My Brother
    The Lost Novel
    In the spring of 1943, twenty-one-year old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. A clear precursor to such landmark works as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that hints at the hallmarks of classic Kerouac: the search for spiritual meaning in a materialistic world, spontaneous travel as the true road to freedom, late nights in bars engaged in intense conversation, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness.

    Atop an Underwood

    Atop an Underwood
    Early Stories and Other Writings
    Before Jack Kerouac expressed the spirit of a generation in his 1957 classic, On the Road, he spent years figuring out how he wanted to live and, above all, learning how to write. Atop an Underwood brings together more than sixty previously unpublished works that Kerouac wrote before he was twenty-two, ranging from stories and poems to plays and parts of novels, including an excerpt from his 1943 merchant marine novel, The Sea Is My Brother. These writings reveal what Kerouac was thinking, doing, and dreaming during his formative years, and reflect his primary literary influences. Readers will also find in these works the source of Kerouac's spontaneous prose style. Uncovering a fascinating missing link in Kerouac's development as a writer, Atop an Underwood is essential reading for Kerouac fans, scholars, and critics.

    Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg

    Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
    The Letters
    "[An] essential Beat masterpiece." --The Village Voice. Perhaps one of the last great dual correspondences of the twentieth century, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters reveals not only the process of creation of the two most celebrated members of the Beat Generation, but also the unfolding of a remarkable friendship of immense pathos and spiritual depth. Through this exhilarating exchange of letters, two-thirds of which have never been published before, Kerouac and Ginsberg emerge first and foremost as writers of artistic passion, innovation, and genius. Vivid and enthralling, the letters, which date from their first meeting in 1944 to Kerouac's untimely death in 1969, chronicle the endless struggle, anguish, and sacrifice involved in giving form to their literary visions.

  • Maggie Cassidy

    Maggie Cassidy
    "When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry Miller One of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the early and mid-1950s, Maggie Cassidy was not published until 1959, after the appearance of On the Road had made its author famous overnight, Long out of print, this touching novel of adolescent love in a New England mill town, with its straight-forward narrative structure, is one of Kerouac's most accesible works. It is a remarkable , bittersweet evocation of the awkwardness and the joy of growing up in America.

    Vanity of Duluoz

    Vanity of Duluoz
    An Adventurous Education, 1935-46
    Originally subtitled "An Adventurous Education, 1935-1946," Vanity of Duluoz is a key volume in Jack Kerouac's lifework, the series of autobiographical novels he referred to as The Legend of Duluoz. With the same tender humor and intoxicating wordplay he brought to his masterpieces On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Kerouac takes his alter ego from the football fields of small-town New England to the playing fields and classrooms of Horace Mann and Columbia, out to sea on a merchant freighter plying the sub-infested waters of the North Atlantic during World War II, and back to New York, where his friends are the writers who would one day become known as the Beat generation and where he published his first novel. Written in 1967 from the vantage point ot the psychedelic sixties, Vanity of Duluoz gives a fascinating portrait of the young Kerouac, dedicated and disciplined in his determination from an early age to be an important American writer.

    The Town and the City

    The Town and the City
    In this compelling first novel, Kerouac draws on his New England mill-town boyhood to create the world of George and Marguerite Martin and their eight children, each endowed with an energy and a vision of life.

    Tristessa

    Tristessa
    "Each book by Jack Kerouac is unique, a telepathic diamond. With prose set in the middle of his mind, he reveals consciousness itself in all its syntatic elaboration, detailing the luminous emptiness of his own paranoiac confusion. Such rich natural writing is nonpareil in later half XX century, a synthesis of Proust, Céline, Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway, Genet, Thelonius Monk, Basho, Charlie Parker, and Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight. "This entire short novel Tristessa's a narrative meditation studying a hen, a rooster, a dove, a cat, a chihuaha dog, family meat, and a ravishing, ravished junky lady, first in their crowded bedroom, then out to drunken streets, taco stands, & pads at dawn in Mexico City slums." —Allen Ginsberg

  • Scattered Poems

    Scattered Poems
    Spontaneous poetry by the author of On the Road, gathered from underground and ephemeral publications; including “San Francisco Blues,” the variant texts of “Pull My Daisy,” and American haiku. HERE DOWN ON DARK EARTH before we all go to Heaven VISIONS OF AMERICA All that hitchhikin All that railroadin All that comin back to America —Jack Kerouac

    Beat Generation

    Beat Generation
    The Lost Work
    Beat Generation is a play about tension, about friendship, and about karma — what it is and how you get it. It begins one fine morning with a few friends, honest laborers some of them, some close to being down-and-out, passing around a bottle of wine. It ends with a kind of satori-like reaffirmation of the power of friendship, of doing good through not doing, and the intrinsic worth of the throw-away little exchanges that make up our lives. Written in 1957, the same year that On the Road was first published, and set in 1953, Beat Generation portrays an authentic and alternate 1950s America. Kerouac's characters are working-class men and women — a step away from vagrants, but not a big step. Their dialogue positively sings, suggesting jazz riffs in their rhythm and content, and Kerouac, like a master composer, arranges it to magical effect. Here is the heart and soul of the beat mentality, the zeitgeist that blossomed over the decades and eventually culminated in the counter-culture of 1960s America. It's a spirit that still lives.

    Mexico City Blues

    Mexico City Blues
    242 Choruses
    Kerouac's most important poem, Mexico City Blues, incorporates all the elements of his theory of spontaneous composition. Memories, fantasies, dreams, and surrealistic free association are all lyrically combined in the loose format of the blues to create an original and moving epic. "I want to be considered a jazz poet blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam session on Sunday. I take 242 choruses; my ideas vary and sometimes roll from chorus to chorus or from halfway through a chorus to halfway into the next." "A spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature." - Allen Ginsberg; "Kerouac calls himself a jazz poet. There is no doubt about his great sensitivity to language. His sentences frequently move into tempestuous sweeps and whorls and sometimes they have something of the rich music of Gerard Manley Hopkins of Dylan Thomas" - The New York Herald Tribune

    The Subterraneans

    The Subterraneans
    Written over the course of three days and three nights, The Subterraneans was generated out of the same ecstatic flash of inspiration that produced another one of Kerouac's early classic, On The Road. Centering on the tempestous breakup of Leo Percepied and Mardou Fox--two denizens of the 1950s San Francsico underground--The Subterraneans is a tale of dark alleys and dark rooms,of artists, of visionaries,

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