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More than sixty years ago, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac sat down in New 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.
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 "Atop an Underwood" brings together more than sixty previously unpublished works that Kerouac wrote before he was twenty-two, ranging from stories and poems to plays and parts of novels, including an excerpt from his 1943 merchant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.
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.
Although he is best known as a writer of prose, Jack Kerouac was an important poet, his work described by Michael McClure as "startling in its majesty and comedy and gentleness and vision." These eight extended poems, composed between 1954 and 1961, offer exuberant forays into language and consciousness that combine rich imagery, complex internal rhythms, and a reverent attentiveness to the moments.
With the publication of On the Road in 1957, Jack Kerouac became at once the spokesman and hero of the Beat Generation. Along with such visionaries as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac changed the face of American literature, igniting a counterculture revolution that even now, decades later, burns brighter than ever in Desolation Angels.
Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma, or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude.
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."
In these uncollected writings Jack Kerouac portrays himself in his life. He hitches a ride to San Francisco with a blond, goes on the road with photographer Robert Frank, rides bus through the Northwest and Montana, records the blues of an old Negro hobo, talks about the Beats and how it all began, gives his "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose" and defends his novel "The Subterraneans", compares Shakespeare and James Joyce, describes the cafeterias and subways of Manhattan, goes to a ballgame and a prize fight, and reflects on Christmas in New England, on Murnau's Nosferatu, on jazz & bop, and tells us what he's thinking about.
Heaven and a choice of poems sent to editor Donald Allen for anthology and magazine publication. With a selection of Jack's letters on his poetry and a biographical note.
In his first frankly autobiographical work, Jack Kerouac tells the exhilarating story of the years when he was writing the 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 Cascade Mountains. Resembling his novels in its exuberant style and "jazzy impressionistic prose" (The New Yorker), Lonesome Traveler gives us "Kerouac's nerve ends vs. the universe, with flashes of poetry, truth, and daffiness."
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 accessible works.
"Mexico City Blues" is Kerouac's only collection of poetry. He roams across continents and cultures in a search for meaning and expression.
In "Old Angel Midnight" Kerouac spills his thoughts onto paper to see what comes out.
The original manuscript of this book, written between 1954 and 1965, has been in the safekeeping of City Lights all the years since Kerouac's death in 1969. Reaching beyond the scope of his Mexico City Blues, here are poems about Mexico and Tangier, Berkeley and the Bowery. Mid-fifties road poems, hymns and songs of God, drug poems, wine poems, dharma poems and Buddhist meditations. Poems to Beat friends, goofball poems, quirky haiku, and a fine, long elegy in "Canuckian Child Patoi Probably Medieval... an English blues." But more than a quarter of a century after it was written, "Pomes All Sizes" today would seem to be more than a sum of it parts, revealing a questing Kerouac grown beyond the popular image of himself as a Beat on the Road.
"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.
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.
Spontaneous poetry gathered from underground and ephemeral publications; including "San Francisco Blues," the variant texts of "Pull My Daisy," and American haiku.
In the spring of 1943, during a stint in the Merchant Marine, 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 itThe Sea Is My Brother. Now, nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. Written seven years beforeThe Town and The Cityofficially launched his writing career,The Sea Is My Brothermarks a pivotal point in which Kerouac began laying the foundations for his pioneering method and signature style. A clear precursor to such landmark works asOn the Road,The Dharma Bums, andVisions of Cody, it is an important formative work that bears all 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 and apartments engaged in intense conversation, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness.
The Subterraneans is an autobiographical Beat love story, a hipster romance. It is a very simple book. Boy meets girl. Then, right away, problems occur.
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.
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.
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.
In the early 1950s, Kerouac became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that would have a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality. This is a biography of the Buddha.
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