On the Road

On the Road

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

Kerouac's quintessential novel of America and the Beat GenerationOn 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.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.
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The Dharma Bums

The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

Two ebullient young men search for Truth the Zen way: from marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and "yabyum" in San Francisco\'s Bohemia to solitude in the high Sierras and a vigil atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Published just a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums is sparked by Kerouac\'s expansiveness, humor, and a contagious zest for life.
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Big Sur

Big Sur

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

"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 syntactic 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 & Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight. "Big Sur's humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a superior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished—others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco's poets & recognize hero Dean Moriarty ten years after On the Road. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer,' as his great peer W.S. Burroughs says, and here at the peak of his suffering humorous genius he wrote through his misery to end with 'Sea,' a brilliant poem appended, on the hallucinatory Sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur."—Allen Ginsberg 10/10/91 N.Y.C.
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Maggie Cassidy

Maggie Cassidy

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

"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 MillerOne 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.
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Tristessa

Tristessa

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

Tristessa is the name with which Kerouac baptized Esperanza Villanueva, a Catholic Mexican young woman, a prostitute and addict to certain drugs, whom he fell in love with during one of his stays in Mexico -a country that he frequently visited - by the middle of the fifties. Wrapped in a spiritual atmosphere that expresses the yearnings of Kerouac to find himself, "Tristessa", translated by Jorge García- Robles, a specialist in the beat generation, is the story of the strange loving relationship that the author had with Esperanza, as well as the significant description of the atmosphere that surrounded it, which depicts some key places of Mexico City back then.Hero of the beat generation, the creator of a model of life that would be followed by thousands of young people in the entire world, a sui generis mystic, "Tristessa", which until recently was not known in Spanish and that was published in English, is one of his fresher and better achieved works. Tristessa es el nombre con el que Kerouac bautizó a Esperanza Villanueva, una joven mexicana católica, prostituta y adicta a ciertas drogas, de quien se enamoró durante una de sus estancias en México, país que visitaba con frecuencia, a mediados de los años cincuenta. Tristessa, en la traducción de Jorge García- Robles, especialista en la generación beat, es el relato de la extraña relación amorosa que tuvo con Esperanza, así como la significativa descripción del ambiente que la rodeaba, en la que aparecen retratos de algunos lugares clave de la Ciudad de México: Plaza Garibaldi, Niño Perdido, la colonia Roma. Escritor «al rojo vivo», como lo calificó Henry Miller, héroe de la generación beat, creador de un modelo de vida que seguirían miles de jóvenes en todo el mundo, místico sui géneris, Tristessa, que hasta hace poco no se conocía en español y que se publicó en inglés apenas hace diez años, es una de sus obras más frescas y mejor logradas.
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Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46

Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

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 of 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.
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The Town and the City: A Novel

The Town and the City: A Novel

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

A quintessential American family is pulled apart by war and the rapidly changing tides of society in Jack Kerouac’s captivating first novel Published seven years before his iconic On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s debut novel follows the experiences of one family as they navigate the seismic cultural shifts following World War II. Inspired by Kerouac’s own New England youth, the eight Martin children enjoy an idyllic upbringing in a small Massachusetts mill-town. Middle son Peter, a budding intellectual and promising athlete, most strongly feels the lure of the future. When war breaks out, the siblings’ lives are interrupted by military service; their parents must sell their house after the family business goes bankrupt; and Peter, eager to see the world, voyages overseas as a Merchant Marine. After returning home, Peter is drawn to the kinetic energy of New York City and the progressive, bohemian ideas springing from its denizen young poets, writers, and artists. His new friends are fictionalized versions of Kerouac’s contemporaries: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), and William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), and other members of the Beat Generation. Seen by Peter’s parents as hoodlums and junkies, the Beats challenge conventional American ideas of everything from authority and religion to marriage and domestic life.
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Satori in Paris & Pic

Satori in Paris & Pic

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

Satori in Paris and Pic, two of Jack Kerouac's last novels, showcase the remarkable range and versatility of his mature talent. Satori in Paris is a rollicking autobiographical account of Kerouac's search for his heritage in France, and lands the author in his familiar milieu of seedy bars and all-night conversations. Pic is Kerouac's final novel and one of his most unusual. Narrated by ten-year-old Pictorial Review Jackson in a North Carolina vernacular, the novel charts the adventures of Pic and his brother Slim as they travel from the rural South to Harlem in the 1940s.
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The Electrocution of Block 38383939383

The Electrocution of Block 38383939383

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

In 1954, Jack Kerouac announced that he was writing the world's first Beat Science Fiction novel; what resulted the following year was actually a short story of around 10,000 words entitled cityCityCITY, a futurist dystopian tale of a mega-city plated in superconducting steel, whose inhabitants are housed in "Zone Blocks" which double, when necessary, as electrified mass-execution chambers. Kerouac apparently sent this blueprint to William S. Burroughs with a request to collaborate on a full-length version, but Burroughs declined. Thus the story languished in limbo, until a new version of it, entitled "The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383," was published in 1959 (in Nugget magazine). This special ebook edition of "The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383" as it was originally published, restores to prominence one of the most intriguing literary experiments of Kerouac's oeuvre, and of the Beat Generation as a whole.
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Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

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.
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Desolation Angels: A Novel

Desolation Angels: A Novel

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

A young man searches for meaning, creates art, and grapples with fame as he traverses the stomping grounds of the Beat Generation—from Mexico City to Manhattan—in Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novel This urgently paced yet deeply introspective novel closely tracks On the Road author Jack Kerouac’s own life. Jack Duluoz journeys from the Cascade Mountains to San Francisco, Mexico City, New York, and Tangier. While working as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the Cascades, Duluoz contemplates his inner void and the distressing isolation brought on by his youthful sense of adventure. In Tangier he suffers a similar feeling of desperation during an opium overdose, and in Mexico City he meets up with a morphine-addicted philosopher and seeks an antidote to his solitude in a whorehouse. As in Kerouac’s other novels, Desolation Angels features a lively cast of pseudonymous versions of his fellow Beat poets, including William S. Burroughs (as Bull Hubbard), Neal Cassady (as Cody Pomeray), and Allen Ginsberg (as Irwin Garden). Duluoz draws readers into the trials and tribulations of these literary iconoclasts—from drug-fueled writing frenzies and alcoholic self-realizations to frenetic international road trips and tumultuous love affairs. Achieving literary success comes with its own consequences though, as Duluoz and his friends must face the scrutiny that comes with rising to the national stage.
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Book of Sketches

Book of Sketches

Jack Kerouac

Biography / Poetry / Fiction

In 1951, it was suggested to Jack Kerouac by his friend Ed White that he "sketch in the streets like a painter but with words." In August of the following year, Kerouac began writing down prose poem "sketches" in small notebooks that he kept in the breast pockets of his shirts. For two years he recorded travels, observations, and meditations on art and life as he moved across America and down to Mexico and back. In 1957, Kerouac sat down with the fifteen handwritten sketch notebooks he had accumulated and typed them into a manuscript called Book of Sketches; he included a handful of new sketches he had written that year. Published now for the first time, and with an introduction by George Condo, Book of Sketches offers an intimate glimpse of Kerouac at a key period of his literary career.
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