Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

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We washed the dishes in the gurgling creek. The roaring bonfire kept the mosquitoes away. A new moon peeked down through the pine boughs. We rolled out our sleeping bags in the meadow grass and went to bed early, bone weary....

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The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published as Kerouac originally composed it

IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic—rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic....

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On the Road chronicles Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent-from East Coast to West Coast to Mexico-with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West."

Read by Will Patton...

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Written during 1951-52, this novel was an underground legend by the time it was finally published in 1972. Written in an experimental form, Kerouac created the ultimate account of his voyages with Neal Cassady, which he captured in a different form for On the Road....

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Book of Dreams is Kerouac's record of his dreamlife, a parallel autobiography of the soul, the sleeper's On the Road: "I got my weary bones out of bed & through eyes swollen with sleep swiftly scribbled in pencil in my little dream notebook till I had exhausted every rememberable item...." In 1961 City Lights published excerpts from the manuscript. This new, expanded edition marks the first publication of the complete manuscript as Kerouac intended it....

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The raucous, exuberant, often wildly funny account of a journey through America and Mexico, Jack Kerouac's On the Road instantly defined a generation upon its publication in 1957: it was, in the words of a New York Times reviewer, "the clearest and most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat.'" Written in the mode of ecstatic improvisation that Allen Ginsberg described as "spontaneous bop prosody," Kerouac's novel remains electrifying in its thirst for experience and its defiant rebuke of American conformity.

In his portrayal of the fervent relationship between the writer Sal Paradise and his outrageous, exasperating, and inimitable friend Dean Moriarty, Kerouac created one of the great friendships in American literature; and his rendering of the cities and highways and wildernesses that his characters restlessly explore are a hallucinatory travelogue of a nation he both mourns and celebrates. Now, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Kerouac's landmark novel, The Library of America collects On the Road together with four other autobiographical "road books" published in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The Dharma Bums (1958), at once an exploration of Buddhist spirituality and an account of the Bay Area poetry scene, is notable for its thinly veiled portraits of Kerouac's acquaintances, including Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Kenneth Rexroth. The Subterraneans (1958) recounts a love affair set amid the bars and bohemian haunts of San Francisco. Tristessa (1960) is a melancholy novella describing a relationship with a prostitute in Mexico City. Lonesome Traveler (1960) collects travel essays that evoke journeys in Mexico and Europe, and concludes with an elegiac lament for the lost world of the American hobo. Also included in Road Novels are selections from Kerouac's journal, which provide a fascinating perspective on his early impressions of material eventually incorporated into On the Road....

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Written in 1953, published in 1959 (after the 1957 publication of Kerouac's On the Road made him famous overnight) and long out of print, this touching novel of adolescent love in a New England mill town is one of Kerouac's most accessible works....

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First published in 1957, this novel epitomized to the world the Beat philosophy. It chronicles a spontaneous and wandering life style founded both on jazz and drug-induced visions....

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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.
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In this haunting novel of intensely felt adolescence, Jack Kerouac tells the story of Jack Duluoz, a French-Canadian boy growing up, as Kerouac himself did, in the dingy factory town of Lowell, Massachusetts. Dr. Sax, with his flowing cape, slouch hat, and insinuating leer, is chief among the many ghosts and demons that populate Jack's fantasy world. Deftly mingling memory and dream, Kerouac captures the accents and texture of his boyhood in Lowell as he relates Jack's adventures with this cryptic, apocalyptic hipster phantom. "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's peculiar genius infects every page." - The New York Times.
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Jack Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.

Introduction by Ann Charters...

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A deluxe edition of Kerouac’s masterpiece on the 50th anniversary of its first publication

First published in 1958, a year after On the Road had put the Beat generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac’s most powerful, influential, and bestselling novels. The story focuses on two untrammeled young Americans—mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer—whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco’s Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras to Ray’s sixty-day vigil by himself atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Primary to this evocative and soulful novel is an honest, exuberant search for an affirmative way of life in the midst of the atomic age. In many ways, The Dharma Bums also presaged the environmental, back-to-the-land, and American Buddhist movements of the 1960s and beyond....

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More than sixty years ago, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac sat down inNew York City to write a novel about the summer of 1944, when one of their friends killed another in a moment of brutal and tragic bloodshed. The two authors were then at the dawn of their careers, having yet to write anything of note. Alternating chapters and narrators, Burroughs and Kerouac pieced together a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and obsession, art and violence. The manuscript, called And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks after a line from a news story about a fire at a circus, was submitted to publishers but rejected and confined to a filing cabinet for decades. This legendary collaboration between two of the twentieth centuries most influential writers is set to be published for the first time in the fall of 2008. A remarkable, fascinating piece of American literary history, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is also an engrossing, atmospheric novel that brings to life a shocking murder at the dawn of the Beat Generation.
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Now, for the first time, this legendary collaboration between two of the twentieth century's most influential writers is being released. A fascinating piece of American literary history and a remarkable window into the personal lives of two hugely influential writers, who, at the very beginning of their careers, sat down to write a novel about the summer of 1944, when one of their friends killed another in a moment of brutal and tragic bloodshed....

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The definitive Kerouac collection—now in Penguin Classics

To coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of On the Road, Penguin Classics republishes this landmark collection. The Portable Jack Kerouac made clear the ambition and accomplishment of Kerouac’s “Legend of Duluoz”—the story of his life told in his many “true story” novels. Featuring selections from Kerouac’s autobiographical fiction, as well as from his poetry, criticism, Buddhist writings, and letters, The Portable Jack Kerouac offers a total immersion in an American master....

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Jack Kerouac, who died in 1969 at the age of forty-seven, is renowned as the father of the "beat generation." His eighteen internationally acclaimed books -- including "On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Subterraneans, " and "Lonesome Traveler" -- were important signpost in a new American literature. Here, in "Mexico City Blues, " his only collection of poetry, his voice is as distinctive as in his prose; it roams widely across continents and cultures in a restless search for meaning and expression, giving the verse the unique qualities found in America's most distinctive contribution to music.
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The life and craft of Jack Kerouac are traced through some of his most personal and mesmerizing letters. Written between 1940, when he was a freshman in college, and 1956, immediately before his leap into celebrity with the publication of On the Road, these letters offer valuable insights into Kerouac's family life, friendships with Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, and others....

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A never-before-published book of poems by Jack Kerouac—in a deluxe package

In 1952 and 1953 as he wandered around America, Jack Kerouac jotted down spontaneous prose poems, or "sketches" as he called them, on small notebooks that he kept in his shirt pockets. The poems recount his travels—New York, North Carolina, Lowell (Massachusetts, Kerouac’s birthplace), San Francisco, Denver, Kansas, Mexico—observations, and meditations on art and life. The poems are often strung together so that over the course of several of them, a little story—or travelogue—appears, complete in itself. Published for the first time, Book of Sketches offers a luminous, intimate, and transcendental glimpse of one of the most original voices of the twentieth century at a key time in his literary and spiritual development....

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In his first frankly autobiographical work, Jack Kerouac tells the exhilarating story fo the years when he was writing th books that captivated and infuriated the public, restless years of wandering during which he worked as a railway brakeman in California, a steward on a tramp steamer, and a fire lookout on the crest of Desolation Peak in the Cascde Mountains.
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Coming down from his carefree youth and unwanted fame, Jack Kerouac undertakes a mature confrontation of some of his most troubling emotional issues: a burgeoning problem with alcoholism, addiction, fear, and insecurity. He dutifully records his ever-changing states of consciousness, which culminate in a powerful religious experience. Big Sur was written some time after Jack Kerouac's best-known works, following a visit to northern California and the first feelings of midlife crisis. Kerouac stayed for several weeks in a cabin in Big Sur, California, and with friends in San Francisco. Upon returning home, he wrote this account in a two-week period. Critic Richard Meltzer referred to Big Sur as Kerouac's 'masterpiece, and one of the great, great works of the English language.'...

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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....

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A previously unpublished volume by Jack Kerouac offers a collage of poems, haiku, journal entries, letters, meditations, ideas on writing, notes on Buddhism, prayers, blues, sketches, and more. 30,000 first printing."...

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This unique collaboration between two of the twentieth century's most influential writers is based on a true event in their lives. Set in bohemian New York, it tells the story of a shocking murder between friends....

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