Jack Kerouac
Overview
Jean-Louis "Jack" Lebris de Kerouac (icon or ˈ; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 and, alongside William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

 and Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

, a pioneer of the Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith following the acceptance of faith . Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, promiscuity
Promiscuity
In humans, promiscuity refers to less discriminating casual sex with many sexual partners. The term carries a moral or religious judgement and is viewed in the context of the mainstream social ideal for sexual activity to take place within exclusive committed relationships...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey
Kenneth Elton "Ken" Kesey was an American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. "I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a...

, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder is an American musician and singer-songwriter who is best known for being the lead singer and one of three guitarists of the alternative rock band Pearl Jam. He is widely considered a cultural icon of alternative rock.He is also involved in soundtrack work and contributes to albums...

, Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan
Richard Gary Brautigan was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America.- Early life :...

, Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

, Lester Bangs
Lester Bangs
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock 'n' roll criticism....

, Tom Robbins
Tom Robbins
Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins (born July 22, 1936 is an American author. His best-selling novels are serio-comic, often wildly poetic stories with a strong social and philosophical undercurrent, an irreverent bent, and scenes extrapolated from...

, Will Clarke
Will Clarke
Will Clarke is an American novelist who is the author of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles: A Spy Novel and The Worthy: A Ghost's Story....

, Ben Gibbard
Ben Gibbard
Benjamin "Ben" Gibbard is an American musician known as a member of several successful indie rock bands. He is the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, and is also known for his project ¡All-Time Quarterback! and his first band, Pinwheel.-Personal life and career:Gibbard was...

, and Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature...

. Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.
Quotations

Maybe that's what life is... a wink of the eye and winking stars.

Letter to Alan Harrington (1949) published in Kerouac: Selected Letters: Volume 1 1940-1956 (1996)

All of life is a foreign country.

Letter (24 June 1949), published in The Beat Vision: A Primary Sourcebook (1987) edited by Arthur Knight and Kit Knight

I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down.

Letter to Ed White (5 July 1950) as quoted in Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster (1996) by Steve Turner, p. 117

Accept loss forever

"Belief & Technique For Modern Prose: List of Essentials" in a letter to Don Allen (1958); published in Heaven & Other Poems (1977)

Believe in the holy contour of life

"Belief & Technique For Modern Prose: List of Essentials" in a letter to Don Allen (1958); published in Heaven & Other Poems (1977)

We should be wondering tonight, "Is there a world?" But I could go and talk on 5, 10, 20 minutes about is there a world, because there is really no world, cause sometimes I'm walkin' on the ground and I see right through the ground. And there is no world. And you'll find out.

"Is There A Beat Generation?" forum at Hunter College|Hunter College, New York, New York (8 November 1958)

Who knows, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion actually, the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty?

"Is There A Beat Generation?" forum at Hunter College (8 November 1958)

Encyclopedia
Jean-Louis "Jack" Lebris de Kerouac (icon or ˈ; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 and, alongside William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

 and Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

, a pioneer of the Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith following the acceptance of faith . Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, promiscuity
Promiscuity
In humans, promiscuity refers to less discriminating casual sex with many sexual partners. The term carries a moral or religious judgement and is viewed in the context of the mainstream social ideal for sexual activity to take place within exclusive committed relationships...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey
Kenneth Elton "Ken" Kesey was an American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. "I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a...

, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder is an American musician and singer-songwriter who is best known for being the lead singer and one of three guitarists of the alternative rock band Pearl Jam. He is widely considered a cultural icon of alternative rock.He is also involved in soundtrack work and contributes to albums...

, Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan
Richard Gary Brautigan was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America.- Early life :...

, Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

, Lester Bangs
Lester Bangs
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, author and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock 'n' roll criticism....

, Tom Robbins
Tom Robbins
Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins (born July 22, 1936 is an American author. His best-selling novels are serio-comic, often wildly poetic stories with a strong social and philosophical undercurrent, an irreverent bent, and scenes extrapolated from...

, Will Clarke
Will Clarke
Will Clarke is an American novelist who is the author of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles: A Spy Novel and The Worthy: A Ghost's Story....

, Ben Gibbard
Ben Gibbard
Benjamin "Ben" Gibbard is an American musician known as a member of several successful indie rock bands. He is the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, and is also known for his project ¡All-Time Quarterback! and his first band, Pinwheel.-Personal life and career:Gibbard was...

, and Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature...

. Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements. In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac's literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

, Doctor Sax
Doctor Sax
Doctor Sax is a novel by Jack Kerouac published in 1959. Kerouac wrote it in 1952 while living with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City.-Plot summary:...

, The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road...

, Mexico City Blues
Mexico City Blues
Mexico City Blues is a poem published by Jack Kerouac in 1959 composed of 242 "choruses" or stanzas. In his own words, Kerouac wanted to be known as a jazz poet and with this book he sought to write in a way consistent with how a musician would play jazz...

, The Subterraneans
The Subterraneans
The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with an African American woman named Alene Lee in San Francisco in 1953. In the novel she is renamed "Mardou Fox," and described as a carefree spirit who frequents the...

, Desolation Angels
Desolation Angels (novel)
Desolation Angels, published in 1965, yet written years earlier around the time On the Road was in the process of publication, is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac, which makes up part of his Duluoz Legend...

, Visions of Cody
Visions of Cody
Visions of Cody is an experimental novel by Jack Kerouac. It was written in 1951-1952, and though not published in its entirety until 1973, it had by then achieved an underground reputation...

 and Big Sur
Big Sur (novel)
Big Sur is a 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti...

.

Adolescence

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

, to French-Canadian parents, Léo-Alcide Kéroack and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, natives of the province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. There is some confusion surrounding his original name, partly due to variations on the spelling of Kerouac, and partly because of Kerouac's own promotion of his name as Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac. His reason for doing so seems to be linked to an old family legend that the Kerouacs had descended from Baron François Louis Alexandre Lebris de Kerouac. Kerouac's baptism certificate lists his name simply as Jean Louis Kirouac, and indeed Kirouac is the most common spelling of the name in Quebec. Kerouac claimed he descended from a Breton
Breton people
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

 nobleman, granted land after the Battle of Quebec
Battle of the Plains of Abraham
The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, also known as the Battle of Quebec, was a pivotal battle in the Seven Years' War...

, whose sons all married Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. Research has shown that Kerouac's roots were indeed in Brittany, and he was descended from a middle-class merchant colonist, Urbain-François Le Bihan, Sieur de Kervoac
Lanmeur
Lanmeur is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.A hamlet in the commune called Kerouac has been established as the source of the name of the American writer Jack Kerouac. A street in Lanmeur has been named rue Jack Kerouac, and in March 2010 a first Jack...

, whose sons married French Canadians. Kerouac's own father had been born to a family of potato farmers in the village of Saint-Hubert-de-Rivière-du-Loup
Rivière-du-Loup Regional County Municipality, Quebec
Rivière-du-Loup is a county regional municipality of Quebec in Canada. Its most important city is Rivière-du-Loup, which contains more than half of the population of the region....

. He also had various stories on the etymology of his surname, usually tracing it to Irish, Breton, or other Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 roots. In one interview he claimed it was the name of a dead Celtic language and in another said it was from the Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 for "language of the water" and related to Kerwick. Kerouac, derived from Kervoach, is the name of one hamlet situated in Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 in Lanmeur
Lanmeur
Lanmeur is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.A hamlet in the commune called Kerouac has been established as the source of the name of the American writer Jack Kerouac. A street in Lanmeur has been named rue Jack Kerouac, and in March 2010 a first Jack...

, near Morlaix
Morlaix
Morlaix is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.-Leisure and tourism:...

.

Despite the future elaborations, around the house during his childhood, Kerouac was referred to as Ti Jean or little John. Kerouac spoke the French-Canadian dialect called Joual
Joual
Joual is the common name for the linguistic features of basilectal Quebec French that are associated with the French-speaking working class in Montreal which has become a symbol of national identity for a large number of artists from that area...

 until he learned English at age six, not speaking it confidently until his late teens. He was a serious child who was devoted to his mother who played an important role in his life. She was a devout Catholic, instilling this into both her sons; this can be seen throughout his works. Kerouac would later go on to say that his mother was the only woman he ever loved. When he was four, he was profoundly affected by the death of his nine-year-old brother, Gérard, from rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that occurs following a Streptococcus pyogenes infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. Believed to be caused by antibody cross-reactivity that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain, the illness typically develops two to three weeks after...

, an event later described in his novel Visions of Gerard
Visions of Gerard
Visions of Gerard is a 1963 novel by American Beat writer Jack Kerouac. Unique among Kerouac's novels, Visions of Gerard focuses on the scenes and sensations of childhood as evidenced in the tragically short yet happy life of his older brother, Gerard. Kerouac paints a picture of the boy as a...

. His mother sought solace in her faith, while his father abandoned it wallowing in drinking, gambling and smoking. Some of Kerouac's poetry was written in French, and in letters written to friend Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

 towards the end of his life, he expressed his desire to speak his parents' native tongue again. Recently, it was discovered that Kerouac first started writing On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

 in French, a language in which he also wrote two unpublished novels. The writings are in dialectal Quebec French
Quebec French
Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

.

On May 17, 1928, while six years old, Kerouac had his first Sacrament of Confession. For penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

 he was told to say a rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

, during the meditation of which he could hear God tell him that he had a good soul, that he would suffer in his life and die in pain and horror, but would in the end have salvation. This experience, along with his dying brother's vision of the Virgin Mary, and the nuns' fawning over the dying boy, convinced that he was a saint, incorporated with later found Buddhism and ongoing commitment to Christ, solidified into his worldview which informs his work.

There were few black people in Lowell, so the young Kerouac was not raised in an environment of racial hatred as many were at the time. Kerouac once recalled to Ted Berrigan
Ted Berrigan
-Early life:Berrigan was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 15, 1934. After high school, he spent a year at Providence College before joining the U.S. Army in 1954 to serve in the Korean War. After three years in the Army, he finished his college studies at the University of Tulsa in...

, in an interview with the Paris Review
Paris Review
The Paris Review is a literary quarterly founded in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. Plimpton edited the Review from its founding until his death in 2003. In its first five years, The Paris Review published works by Jack Kerouac, Philip Larkin, V. S...

, an incident from the 1940s, in which his mother and father were walking together in a Jewish neighborhood in the Lower East Side
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

 of New York, saying "And here comes a whole bunch of rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s walking arm in arm... teedah- teedah - teedah... and they wouldn't part for this Christian man and his wife. So my father went POOM! and knocked a rabbi right in the gutter." His father, after the death of his child and apostasy, had treated a priest with similar contempt, angrily throwing him out of the house after an invitation by Gabrielle.

Kerouac's skills as a running back in American football for Lowell High School earned him scholarship offers from Boston College
Boston College
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. The main campus is bisected by the border between the cities of Boston and Newton. It has 9,200 full-time undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students. Its name reflects its early...

, Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

 and Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. He entered Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 after spending a year at Horace Mann School
Horace Mann School
Horace Mann School is an independent college preparatory school in New York City, New York, United States founded in 1887 known for its rigorous course of studies. Horace Mann is a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League, educating students from all across the New York tri-state area from...

, where he earned the requisite grades to matriculate to Columbia. Kerouac cracked a tibia
Tibia
The tibia , shinbone, or shankbone is the larger and stronger of the two bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates , and connects the knee with the ankle bones....

 playing football during his freshman season, and he argued constantly with Coach Lou Little
Lou Little
Lou "Luigi Piccolo" Little was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Georgetown College, now Georgetown University, from 1924 to 1929 and at Columbia University from 1930 to 1956, compiling a career college football record of 151–128–13...

 who kept him benched. While at Columbia, Kerouac wrote several sports articles for the student newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator
Columbia Daily Spectator
Columbia Daily Spectator is the daily student newspaper of Columbia University. It is published at 112th and Broadway in New York, New York. Founded in 1877, it is the oldest continuously operating college news daily in the nation after The Harvard Crimson, and has been legally independent of the...

 and joined the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta
Phi Gamma Delta
The international fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta is a collegiate social fraternity with 120 chapters and 18 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1848, and its headquarters are located in Lexington, Kentucky, USA...

. He also studied at The New School
The New School
The New School is a university in New York City, located mostly in Greenwich Village. From its founding in 1919 by progressive New York academics, and for most of its history, the university was known as the New School for Social Research. Between 1997 and 2005 it was known as New School University...

.

Early adulthood

When his football career at Columbia soured, Kerouac dropped out of the university. He continued to live for a period on New York City's Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

 with his girlfriend, Edie Parker
Edie Parker
Edie Kerouac-Parker was the author of her memoir, "You'll Be Okay" from the Beat Generation, and the first wife of Jack Kerouac. She and Joan Vollmer shared an apartment on 118th Street in New York City, frequented by many Beats, among them Vollmer's eventual husband William S. Burroughs.Parker...

. It was during this time that he met the people—now famous—with whom he would always be associated, the subjects injected into many of his novels: the so-called Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

, including Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

, Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

, John Clellon Holmes
John Clellon Holmes
John Clellon Holmes , born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, was an author, poet and professor, best known for his 1952 novel Go. Considered the first "Beat" novel, Go depicted events in his life with his friends Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg. He was often referred to as the "quiet Beat"...

, Herbert Huncke
Herbert Huncke
Herbert Edwin Huncke was a writer and poet, and active participant in a number of emerging cultural, social and aesthetic movements of the 20th century in America...

 and William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

.

Kerouac joined the United States Merchant Marine
United States Merchant Marine
The United States Merchant Marine refers to the fleet of U.S. civilian-owned merchant vessels, operated by either the government or the private sector, that engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine is...

 in 1942, and in 1943 joined the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, but he only served eight days of active duty before arriving on the sick list. According to his medical report Jack Kerouac said he “asked for an aspirin for his headaches and they diagnosed me Dementia Praecox
Dementia praecox
Dementia praecox refers to a chronic, deteriorating psychotic disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens or early adulthood. It is a term first used in 1891 in this Latin form by Arnold Pick , a professor of psychiatry at the German branch of...

 and sent me here.” The medical examiner reported Jack Kerouac’s military adjustment was poor, quoting Kerouac: “I just can’t stand it; I like to be by myself”. Two days later he was honorably discharged on psychiatric grounds (he was of "indifferent character" with a diagnosis of "schizoid personality").

In 1944, Kerouac was arrested as a material witness
Material witness
A material witness is a person with information alleged to be material concerning a criminal proceeding. The authority to detain material witnesses dates to the First Judiciary Act of 1789, but the Bail Reform Act of 1984 most recently amended the text of the statute, and it is now codified at...

 in the murder of David Kammerer, who had been stalking Kerouac's friend Lucien Carr
Lucien Carr
Lucien Carr was a key member of the original New York City circle of the Beat Generation in the 1940s; later he worked for many years as an editor for United Press International.-Early life:...

 since Carr was a teenager in St. Louis. William Burroughs was a native of St. Louis, and it was through Carr that Kerouac came to know both Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. According to Carr, Kammerer's obsession with Carr turned aggressive, causing Carr to stab him to death in self-defense. After turning to Kerouac for help, together they disposed of evidence. Afterwards, as advised by Burroughs, they turned themselves in to the police. Kerouac's father, unwilling and unable, refused to pay his bail. Kerouac then agreed to marry Edie Parker
Edie Parker
Edie Kerouac-Parker was the author of her memoir, "You'll Be Okay" from the Beat Generation, and the first wife of Jack Kerouac. She and Joan Vollmer shared an apartment on 118th Street in New York City, frequented by many Beats, among them Vollmer's eventual husband William S. Burroughs.Parker...

 if she'd pay the bail. Their marriage was annulled a year later, and Kerouac and Burroughs briefly collaborated on a novel about the Kammerer killing entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is a novel by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. It was written in 1945, a full decade before the two authors became famous as leading figures of the Beat Generation, and remained unpublished for many years....

. Though the book was not published during the lifetimes of either Kerouac or Burroughs, an excerpt eventually appeared in Word Virus: A William S. Burroughs Reader (and as noted below, the novel was finally published late 2008). Kerouac also later wrote about the killing in his novel Vanity of Duluoz
Vanity of Duluoz
Vanity of Duluoz is a 1968 semi-autobiographical novel by Jack Kerouac . The book describes the adventures of Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz, covering the period of his life between 1935 and 1946...

.
Later, he lived with his parents in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, after they also moved to New York. He wrote his first novel, The Town and the City
The Town and the City
The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road . Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical...

, and began the famous On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

 around 1949 while living there. His friends jokingly called him "The Wizard of Ozone Park," alluding to Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

's nickname, "the Wizard of Menlo Park" and to the film The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The lyrics for the songs...

.

Early career: 1950–1957

Kerouac wrote constantly, carrying a notebook with him everywhere. Letters to friends and family members tended to be long and rambling, including great detail about his daily life and thoughts. Prior to becoming a writer, he tried a varied list of careers. He was a sports reporter for The Lowell Sun; a temporary worker in construction and food service; a United States Merchant Marine
United States Merchant Marine
The United States Merchant Marine refers to the fleet of U.S. civilian-owned merchant vessels, operated by either the government or the private sector, that engage in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine is...

 and he joined the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 twice.

The Town and the City
The Town and the City
The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road . Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical...

 was published in 1950 under the name "John Kerouac" and, though it earned him a few respectable reviews, the book sold poorly. Heavily influenced by Kerouac's reading of Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Clayton Wolfe was a major American novelist of the early 20th century.Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing...

, it reflects on the generational epic formula and the contrasts of small town life versus the multi-dimensional, and larger, city. The book was heavily edited by Robert Giroux
Robert Giroux
Robert Giroux was an influential American book editor and publisher. Starting his editing career with Harcourt, Brace & Co., he was hired away to work for Roger W. Straus, Jr. at Farrar & Straus in 1955, where he became a partner and, eventually, its chairman...

; some 400 pages were taken out.

For the next six years, Kerouac continued to write regularly. Building upon previous drafts tentatively titled "The Beat Generation" and "Gone on the Road," Kerouac completed what is now known as On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

 in April 1951, while living at 454 West 20th Street in Manhattan with his second wife, Joan Haverty. The book was largely autobiographical and describes Kerouac's road-trip adventures across the United States and Mexico with Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

 in the late-40s, as well as his relationships with other Beat writers and friends. He completed the first version of the novel during a three-week extended session of spontaneous confessional prose. Kerouac wrote the final draft in 20 days, with Joan, his wife, supplying him bowls of pea soup and mugs of coffee to keep him going. Before beginning, Kerouac cut sheets of tracing paper into long strips, wide enough for a type-writer, and taped them together into a 120 feet (36.6 m) long roll he then fed into the machine. This allowed him to type continuously without the interruption of reloading pages. The resulting manuscript contained no chapter or paragraph breaks and was much more explicit than what would eventually be printed. Though "spontaneous," Kerouac had prepared long in advance before beginning to write. In fact, according to his Columbia professor and mentor Mark Van Doren
Mark Van Doren
Mark Van Doren was an American poet, writer and a critic, apart from being a scholar and a professor of English at Columbia University for nearly 40 years, where he inspired a generation of influential writers and thinkers including Thomas Merton, Robert Lax, John Berryman, and Beat Generation...

, he had outlined much of the work in his journals over the several preceding years.

Though the work was completed quickly, Kerouac had a long and difficult time finding a publisher. Before On the Road was accepted by Viking Press, Kerouac got a job as a "railroad brakesman and fire lookout" traveling between the East and West coasts of America to collect money, so he could live with his mother. During this period of travel, he conspired what was to be "his life's work", "The Legend of Duluoz."

Publishers rejected On the Road because of its experimental writing style and its sympathetic tone towards minorities and marginalized social groups of post-War America
United States in the 1950s
During the 1950s in the United States, manufacturing and home construction were on the rise as the American economy was on the upswing. The Korean War and the beginning of the Cold War created a politically conservative climate in the country, and the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the...

. Many editors were also uncomfortable with the idea of publishing a book that contained what were, for the era, graphic descriptions of drug use and homosexual behavior—a move that could result in obscenity charges being filed, a fate that later befell Burroughs' Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch is a novel by William S. Burroughs originally published in 1959. The book is structured as a series of loosely-connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order...

 and Ginsberg's Howl
Howl
"Howl" is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955 and published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation, along with Jack Kerouac's On the Road and William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch...

.

According to Kerouac, On the Road "was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him. I found him in the sky, in Market Street San Francisco (those 2 visions), and Dean (Neal) had God sweating out of his forehead all the way. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OUT FOR THE HOLY MAN: HE MUST SWEAT FOR GOD. And once he has found Him, the Godhood of God is forever Established and really must not be spoken about." According to his authorized biographer, historian Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley is an American author, professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. Brinkley is the history commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair...

, On the Road has been misinterpreted as a tale of companions out looking for kicks, but the most important thing to comprend is that Kerouac was an American Catholic author - for example, virtually every page of his diary bore a sketch of a crucifix, a prayer, or an appeal to Christ to be forgiven.

In late 1951, Joan Haverty left and divorced Kerouac while pregnant. In February 1952, she gave birth to Kerouac's only child, Jan Kerouac
Jan Kerouac
Janet Michelle "Jan" Kerouac was an American writer and the only child of beat generation author Jack Kerouac and Joan Haverty Kerouac.-Early life and career:...

, though he refused to acknowledge her as his own until a blood test confirmed it 9 years later. For the next several years Kerouac continued writing and traveling, taking extensive trips throughout the U.S. and Mexico and often fell into bouts of depression and heavy drug and alcohol use. During this period he finished drafts for what would become 10 more novels, including The Subterraneans
The Subterraneans
The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with an African American woman named Alene Lee in San Francisco in 1953. In the novel she is renamed "Mardou Fox," and described as a carefree spirit who frequents the...

, Doctor Sax
Doctor Sax
Doctor Sax is a novel by Jack Kerouac published in 1959. Kerouac wrote it in 1952 while living with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City.-Plot summary:...

, Tristessa
Tristessa
Tristessa is a novella by Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac set in Mexico City. It is based on his relationship with a Mexican prostitute...

, and Desolation Angels
Desolation Angels (novel)
Desolation Angels, published in 1965, yet written years earlier around the time On the Road was in the process of publication, is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac, which makes up part of his Duluoz Legend...

, which chronicle many of the events of these years.

In 1954, Kerouac discovered Dwight Goddard's A Buddhist Bible at the San Jose
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

 Library, which marked the beginning of his immersion into Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

. However, Kerouac had taken an interest in Eastern thought in 1946 when he read Heinrich Zimmer's Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. Kerouac's stance on eastern texts then differed from when he took it up again in the early to mid-1950s. In 1955 Kerouac wrote a biography of Siddhartha Gautama, entitled Wake Up, which was unpublished during his lifetime but eventually serialised in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
Tricycle: The Buddhist Review is an independent, nonsectarian Buddhist quarterly magazine established in 1991 by Helen Tworkov. Published by The Tricycle Foundation out of New York City, most issues have interviews with Buddhist teachers, articles or essays on Buddhism and contemporary issues, book...

, 1993–95. It was published by Viking in September 2008.
Politically, Kerouac found enemies on both sides of the spectrum, the right disdaining his association with drugs and sexual libertinism and the left contemptuous of his anti-communism and Catholicism; characteristically he watched the 1954 Senate McCarthy hearings smoking cannabis and rooting for the anti-communist crusader, Senator Joe McCarthy. In Desolation Angels he wrote, "when I went to Columbia all they tried to teach us was Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, as if I cared" (considering Marxism, like Freudianism, to be an illusory tangent).

In 1957, after being rejected by several other firms, On the Road was finally purchased by Viking Press
Viking Press
Viking Press is an American publishing company owned by the Penguin Group, which has owned the company since 1975. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim...

, which demanded major revisions prior to publication. Many of the more sexually explicit passages were removed and, fearing libel suits, pseudonyms were used for the book's "characters". These revisions have often led to criticisms of the alleged spontaneity of Kerouac's style.

Later career: 1957–1969

In July 1957, Kerouac moved to a small house at 1418½ Clouser Avenue in the College Park
College Park, Orlando
College Park is a distinct neighborhood within the city of Orlando, Florida, deriving its name from the many streets within its bounds that were named for institutions of higher learning like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. Its close proximity to downtown has made it a popular residential area for...

 section of Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

, to await the release of On the Road. Weeks later, a review appeared in The New York Times proclaiming Kerouac the voice of a new generation. Kerouac was hailed as a major American writer. His friendship with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso
Gregory Corso
Gregory Nunzio Corso was an American poet, youngest of the inner circle of Beat Generation writers...

, among others, became a notorious representation of the Beat Generation. The term “Beat Generation” was invented by Kerouac during a conversation held with fellow novelist Herbert Huncke
Herbert Huncke
Herbert Edwin Huncke was a writer and poet, and active participant in a number of emerging cultural, social and aesthetic movements of the 20th century in America...

. His fame came as an unmanageable surge that would ultimately be his undoing.

Kerouac's novel is often described as the defining work of the post-World War II Beat Generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

 and Kerouac came to be called "the king of the beat generation," a term that he never felt comfortable with. He once observed, "I'm not a beatnik, I'm a Catholic", showing the reporter a painting of Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 and saying, "You know who painted that? Me."

The success of On the Road brought Kerouac instant fame. His celebrity status brought publishers desiring unwanted manuscripts which were previously rejected before its publication. After nine months, he no longer felt safe in public. He was badly beaten by three men outside the San Remo Bar at 189 Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street
Bleecker Street is a street in New York City's Manhattan borough. It is perhaps most famous today as a Greenwich Village nightclub district. The street is a spine that connects a neighborhood today popular for music venues and comedy, but which was once a major center for American bohemia.Bleecker...

 in New York City one night. Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

, possibly as a result of his new notoriety as the central character of the book, was set up and arrested for selling marijuana.

In response, Kerouac chronicled parts of his own experience with Buddhism, as well as some of his adventures with Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder is an American poet , as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist . Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry...

 and other San Francisco-area poets, in The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road...

, set in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and Washington and published in 1958. It was written in Orlando between November 26 and December 7, 1957. To begin writing Dharma Bums, Kerouac typed onto a ten-foot length of teleprinter paper, to avoid interrupting his flow for paper changes, as he had done six years previously for On the Road.

Kerouac was demoralized by criticism of Dharma Bums from such respected figures in the American field of Buddhism as Zen teacher Ruth Fuller Sasaki
Ruth Fuller Sasaki
Ruth Fuller Sasaki , born Ruth Fuller, was an important figure in the development of Buddhism in the United States. As Ruth Fuller Everett , she met and studied with Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki in Japan in 1930...

 and Alan Watts
Alan Watts
Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York...

. He wrote to Snyder, referring to a meeting with D. T. Suzuki
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki was a Japanese author of books and essays on Buddhism, Zen and Shin that were instrumental in spreading interest in both Zen and Shin to the West. Suzuki was also a prolific translator of Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit literature...

, that "even Suzuki was looking at me through slitted eyes as though I was a monstrous imposter." He passed up the opportunity to reunite with Snyder in California, and explained to Whalen, "I'd be ashamed to confront you and Gary now I've become so decadent and drunk and don't give a shit. I'm not a Buddhist any more."

Kerouac also wrote and narrated a "Beat" movie entitled Pull My Daisy
Pull My Daisy
Pull My Daisy is a short film that typifies the Beat Generation. Directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, Daisy was adapted by Jack Kerouac from the third act of his play, Beat Generation; Kerouac also provided improvised narration...

 (1959), directed by Robert Frank
Robert Frank
Robert Frank , born in Zürich, Switzerland, is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 photobook titled The Americans, was influential, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and skeptical outsider's view of American...

 and Alfred Leslie
Alfred Leslie
Alfred Leslie is an American artist and filmmaker. He first achieved success as an Abstract Expressionist painter, but changed course in the early 1960s and became a painter of realistic figurative paintings.-Biography:...

. Originally to be called The Beat Generation, the title was changed at the last moment when MGM
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 released a film by the same name
The Beat Generation
The Beat Generation is a film by MGM starring Steve Cochran and Mamie Van Doren, with Ray Danton, Fay Spain, Maggie Hayes, Jackie Coogan, Louis Armstrong, Vampira, and Ray Anthony...

 in July 1959 which sensationalized "beatnik" culture.

The CBS Television series Route 66
Route 66 (TV series)
Route 66 is an American TV series in which two young men traveled across America. The show ran weekly on CBS from 1960 to 1964. It starred Martin Milner as Tod Stiles and, for two and a half seasons, George Maharis as Buz Murdock. Maharis was ill for much of the third season, during which time Tod...

 (1960–64), featuring two untethered young men "on the road" in a Corvette
Corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

 seeking adventure and fueling their travels by apparently plentiful temporary jobs in the various U.S. locales framing the anthology styled stories, gave the impression of being a commercially sanitized misappropriation of Kerouac's "On The Road" story model. Even the leads, Buz and Todd, bore a resemblance to the dark, athletic Kerouac and the blonde Cassady/Moriarty, respectively. Kerouac felt he'd been conspicuously ripped off by Route 66 creator Stirling Silliphant
Stirling Silliphant
Stirling Dale Silliphant was an American screenwriter and producer. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, moved to Glendale, California as a child, graduated from Hoover High School, and was educated at the University of Southern California...

 and sought to sue him, CBS, the Screen Gems
Screen Gems
Screen Gems is an American movie production company and subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group that has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation....

 TV production company, and sponsor Chevrolet, but was somehow counseled against proceeding with what looked like a very potent cause of action.

John Antonelli's 1985 documentary Kerouac, the Movie begins and ends with footage of Kerouac reading from On the Road
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

 and Visions of Cody
Visions of Cody
Visions of Cody is an experimental novel by Jack Kerouac. It was written in 1951-1952, and though not published in its entirety until 1973, it had by then achieved an underground reputation...

 on The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show that has aired on NBC since 1954. It is the longest currently running regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States, and the third longest-running show on NBC, after Meet the Press and Today.The Tonight Show has been hosted by...

 with Steve Allen
Steve Allen
Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

 in 1957. Kerouac appears intelligent but shy. "Are you nervous?" asks Steve Allen. "Naw," says Kerouac, sweating and fidgeting.

Kerouac developed something of a friendship with the scholar Alan Watts
Alan Watts
Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York...

 (renamed Arthur Wayne in Kerouac's novel Big Sur
Big Sur (novel)
Big Sur is a 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti...

, and Alex Aums in Desolation Angels
Desolation Angels (novel)
Desolation Angels, published in 1965, yet written years earlier around the time On the Road was in the process of publication, is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac, which makes up part of his Duluoz Legend...

). Kerouac moved to Northport, New York
Northport, New York
Northport is a village in Suffolk County, New York on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the United States 2000 Census, the village population was 7,606. Students attend the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District....

 in March 1958, six months after releasing On the Road., to care for his aging mother Gabrielle and to hide from his new-found celebrity status.

In 1968, he appeared on the television show Firing Line
Firing Line
Firing Line was an American public affairs show founded and hosted by conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. Its 1,504 episodes over 33 years made Firing Line the longest-running public affairs show in television history with a single host...

 produced and hosted by William F. Buckley. The visibly drunk Kerouac talked about the 1960s counterculture in what would be his last appearance on television.

Death

On 20 October 1969, around 11 in the morning, Jack was sitting in his favorite chair, drinking whiskey and malt liquor, trying to scribble notes for a book about his father's print shop in Lowell, Mass. He suddenly felt sick to his stomach, which was nothing unusual, and headed for the bathroom. He began to throw up massive amounts of blood, and yelled to his wife, "Stella, I'm bleeding." Eventually he was convinced to go to the hospital and was taken out by ambulance to St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Blood continued to pour from his mouth and he underwent numerous transfusions. Eventually that evening Jack underwent surgery in an attempt to tie off all the burst blood vessels, but his liver, destroyed by years of drinking, would not let his blood clot. Kerouac died at 5:15 am the following morning, 21 October 1969, having never regained consciousness from the operation. His death, at the age of 47, resulted from an internal hemorrhage (bleeding esophageal varices
Esophageal varices
In medicine , esophageal varices are extremely dilated sub-mucosal veins in the lower esophagus...

) caused by cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

, the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking. Kerouac is buried at Edson Cemetery in his hometown of Lowell
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

 and was honored posthumously with a Doctor of Letters degree from his hometown's University of Massachusetts Lowell on June 2, 2007.

At the time of his death, he was living with his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac, and his mother, Gabrielle. Kerouac's mother inherited most of his estate. When she died in 1973, Stella inherited the rights to his works under a faked will purportedly signed by his mother. Family members challenged the will and, on July 24, 2009, a judge in Pinellas County, Florida
Pinellas County, Florida
Pinellas County is a county located in the state of Florida. Its county seat is Clearwater, Florida, and its largest city is St. Petersburg. This county is contained entirely within the telephone area code 727, except for some sections of Oldsmar, which have the area code 813...

 ruled that the will of Gabrielle Kerouac was fake, citing that Gabrielle Kerouac would not be physically capable of providing her own signature on the date of the signing. However, such ruling has no effect on the copyright ownership of Jack's literary works, since in 2004 a Florida Probate Court ruled that "any claim against any assets or property which were inherited or received by any of the SAMPAS respondents through the Estate of Stella Sampas Kerouac, Deceased, is barred by reason of the provisions of the Florida Statute §733.710(1989)."

In 2007, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of On the Roads publishing, Viking issued two new editions: On the Road: The Original Scroll, and On the Road: 50th Anniversary Edition. By far the more significant is Scroll, a transcription of the original draft typed as one long paragraph on sheets of tracing paper which Kerouac taped together to form a 120 feet (36.6 m) scroll. The text is more sexually explicit than Viking allowed to be published in 1957, and also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends rather than the fictional names he later substituted. Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League ....

 owner Jim Irsay
Jim Irsay
James Irsay is the owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.-Biography:...

 paid $2.43 million for the original scroll and allowed an exhibition tour that concluded at the end of 2009. The other new issue, 50th Anniversary Edition, is a reissue of the 40th anniversary issue under an updated title.

The Kerouac/Burroughs manuscript, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is a novel by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. It was written in 1945, a full decade before the two authors became famous as leading figures of the Beat Generation, and remained unpublished for many years....

 was published for the first time on November 1, 2008 by Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1951. Imprints include: Black Cat, Evergreen, Venus Library, Zebra. Barney Rosset purchased the company in 1951 and turned it into an alternative book press in the United States. The Atlantic Monthly Press, under the aegis of its...

. Previously, a fragment of the manuscript had been published in the Burroughs compendium, Word Virus.

Style

Kerouac is generally considered to be the father of the Beat movement, although he actively disliked such labels. Kerouac's method was heavily influenced by the prolific explosion of
Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, especially the Bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 genre established by Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charles Parker, Jr. , famously called Bird or Yardbird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer....

, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

, Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer considered "one of the giants of American music". Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser"...

, and others. Later, Kerouac would include ideas he developed from his
Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 studies that began with Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder is an American poet , as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist . Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry...

. He often referred to his style as spontaneous prose, a literary technique akin to nothing. Although Kerouac’s prose was spontaneous and purportedly without edits, he primarily wrote autobiographical novel
Autobiographical novel
An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using autofiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fiction elements. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction...

s (or Roman à clef
Roman à clef
Roman à clef or roman à clé , French for "novel with a key", is a phrase used to describe a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction. The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the "key" is the relationship between the nonfiction and the fiction...

) based upon actual events from his life and the people with whom he interacted.
Many of his books exemplified this approach, including On the Road, Visions of Cody, Visions of Gerard, Big Sur, and The Subterraneans. The central features of this writing method were the ideas of breath (borrowed from Jazz and from Buddhist meditation breathing), improvising words over the inherent structures of mind and language, and not editing a single word (much of his work was edited by Donald Merriam Allen, a major figure in Beat Generation poetry who edited some of Ginsberg's work as well). Connected with his idea of breath was the elimination of the period
Full stop
A full stop is the punctuation mark commonly placed at the end of sentences. In American English, the term used for this punctuation is period. In the 21st century, it is often also called a dot by young people...

, preferring to use a long, connecting dash instead. As such, the phrases occurring between dashes might resemble improvisational jazz
Improvisation
Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new structures or symbols, and/or...

 licks. When spoken, the words might take on a certain kind of rhythm, though none of it pre-meditated.

Kerouac greatly admired Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder is an American poet , as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist . Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry...

, many of whose ideas influenced him. The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road...

 contains accounts of a mountain climbing trip Kerouac took with Snyder, and also whole paragraphs from letters Snyder had written to Kerouac. While living with Snyder outside Mill Valley, California
Mill Valley, California
Mill Valley is a city in Marin County, California, United States located about north of San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. The population was 13,903 at the 2010 census.Mill Valley is located on the western and northern shores of Richardson Bay...

 in 1956, Kerouac was working on a book centering around Snyder, which he was thinking of calling Visions of Gary. (This eventually became Dharma Bums, which Kerouac described as "mostly about [Snyder].") That summer, Kerouac took a job as a fire lookout
Fire lookout
A fire lookout is a person assigned the duty to look for fire from atop a building known as a fire lookout tower. These towers are used in remote areas, normally on mountain tops with high elevation and a good view of the surrounding terrain, to spot smoke caused by a wildfire.Once a possible fire...

 on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades
North Cascades
The North Cascades are a section of the Cascade Range of western North America. They span the border between the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington and are officially named in Canada as the Cascade Mountains...

 in Washington, after hearing Snyder's and Philip Whalen
Philip Whalen
Philip Glenn Whalen was an American poet, Zen Buddhist, and a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance and close to the Beat generation.-Biography:...

's accounts of their own lookout stints. Kerouac described the experience in his novel Desolation Angels.

He would go on for hours, often drunk, to friends and strangers about his method. Allen Ginsberg, initially unimpressed, would later be one of its great proponents, and indeed, he was apparently influenced by Kerouac's free flowing prose method of writing in the composition of his masterpiece "Howl
Howl
"Howl" is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955 and published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation, along with Jack Kerouac's On the Road and William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch...

". It was at about the time that Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans that he was approached by Ginsberg and others to formally explicate his style. Among the writings he set down specifically about his Spontaneous Prose method, the most concise would be Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, a list of 30 "essentials".
Some believed that at times Kerouac's writing technique did not produce lively or energetic prose. Truman Capote
Truman Capote
Truman Streckfus Persons , known as Truman Capote , was an American author, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's and the true crime novel In Cold Blood , which he labeled a "nonfiction novel." At...

 famously said about Kerouac's work, "That's not writing, it's typing". Despite such criticism, it should be kept in mind that what Kerouac said about writing and how he wrote are sometimes seen to be separate. According to Carolyn Cassady
Carolyn Cassady
Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson Cassady is an American writer associated with the Beat Generation through her marriage to Neal Cassady and her friendships with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other prominent Beat figures...

, and other people who knew him, he rewrote and rewrote. However, it should be taken into account that throughout most of the '50s Kerouac was constantly trying to have his work published, and consequently he often revised and re-arranged manuscripts in an often futile attempt to interest publishers, as is clearly documented in his collected letters (which are in themselves examples of his style). The Subterraneans and Visions of Cody are possibly the best examples of Kerouac's free-flowing spontaneous prose method.

Although the body of Kerouac's work has been published in English, recent research has suggested that, aside from already known correspondence and letters written to friends and family, he also wrote unpublished works of fiction in French. A manuscript entitled Sur le Chemin (On the road) was discovered in 2008 by Québécois journalist Gabriel Anctil. The novela was completed in five days in Mexico during December 1952 is a telling example of Kerouac's attempts at writing in Joual
Joual
Joual is the common name for the linguistic features of basilectal Quebec French that are associated with the French-speaking working class in Montreal which has become a symbol of national identity for a large number of artists from that area...

, a dialect typical of the French-Canadian working class of the time, which can be summarized as a form of expression utilising both old patois
Patois
Patois is any language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics. It can refer to pidgins, creoles, dialects, and other forms of native or local speech, but not commonly to jargon or slang, which are vocabulary-based forms of cant...

 and modern French mixed with modern English words (windshield being a modern English expression used casually by some French Canadians even today). Set in 1935, mostly on the American east coast, the short manuscript (50 pages) explores some of the recurring themes of Kerouac's literature by way of a narrative very close to, if not identical to, the spoken word. It tells the story of a group of men who agree to meet in New York, including a young 13-year-old Kerouac whom he refers to as Ti-Jean. Ti-Jean and his father Leo (Kerouac's father's real name) leave Boston by car, traveling to assist friends looking for a place to stay in the city. The story actually follows two cars and their passengers, one driving out of Denver and the other from Boston, until they eventually meet in a dingy bar in New York's Chinatown. In it, Kerouac's "French" is written in a form which has little regard for grammar or spelling, relying often on phonetics in order to render an authentic reproduction of his French-Canadian vernacular. The novel starts: Dans l'mois d'Octobre 1935, y'arriva une machine du West, de Denver, sur le chemin pour New York. Dans la machine était Dean Pomeray, un soûlon; Dean Pomeray Jr., son ti fils de 9 ans et Rolfe Glendiver, son step son, 24. C'était un vieille Model T Ford, toutes les trois avaient leux yeux attachez sur le chemin dans la nuit à travers la windshield. Even though this work shares the same title as one of his best known English novels, it is rather the original French version of a short text that would later become Old bull in the Bowery (also unpublished) once translated to English prose by Kerouac himself. Sur le Chemin is Kerouac's second known French manuscript, the first being La nuit est ma Femme written in early 1951 and completed a few days before he began the original English version of On the Road, as revealed by journalist Gabriel Anctil in the Montreal daily Le Devoir
Le Devoir
Le Devoir is a French-language newspaper published in Montreal and distributed in Quebec and the rest of Canada. It was founded by journalist, politician, and nationalist Henri Bourassa in 1910....

.

Influences

Kerouac's early writing, particularly his first novel The Town and the City
The Town and the City
The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road . Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical...

, was more conventional, and bore the strong influence of Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Wolfe
Thomas Clayton Wolfe was a major American novelist of the early 20th century.Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing...

. The technique Kerouac developed that later made Kerouac famous was heavily influenced by Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, especially Bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

, and later, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, as well as the famous "Joan Anderson letter" authored by Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

. The Diamond Sutra
Diamond Sutra
The Diamond Sūtra , is a short and well-known Mahāyāna sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā, or "Perfection of Wisdom" genre, and emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment...

 was the most important Buddhist text for Kerouac, and "probably one of the three or four most influential things he ever read". In 1955, he began an intensive study of this sutra, in a repeating weekly cycle, devoting one day to each of the six Pāramitā
Pāramitā
Pāramitā or pāramī is "perfection" or "completeness." In Buddhism, the pāramitās refer to the perfection or culmination of certain virtues...

s, and the seventh to the concluding passage on Samādhi
Samadhi
Samadhi in Hinduism, Buddhism,Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna. In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali....

. This was his sole reading on Desolation Peak, and he hoped by this means to condition his mind to emptiness, and possibly to have a vision.

However, often overlooked but perhaps his greatest literary influence may be that of James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 whose work he alludes to, by far, more than any other author. Kerouac had the highest esteem for Joyce, emulated and expanded on his techniques. Regarding On the Road, he wrote in a letter to Ginsberg, "I can tell you now as I look back on the flood of language. It is like Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

 and should be treated with the same gravity." Indeed, Old Angel Midnight
Old Angel Midnight
Old Angel Midnight is a long narrative poem by American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac. It was culled from five notebooks spanning from 1956 to 1959, while Kerouac was fully absorbed by his studies of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy. Kerouac initially experimented with Old Angel Midnight in 1953...

 has been called "the closest thing to Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake is a novel by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years, and published in 1939, two years before the author's...

 in American literature."

Legacy

Kerouac is considered by some the "King of the Beats", a title with which Kerouac himself was deeply uncomfortable. Kerouac's plainspeaking style of prose and his nearly long-form free verse style of novelistic "neologism", inspired countless beat writers and neo-beat writers and artists, such as painter George Condo
George Condo
George Condo is an American contemporary visual artist.-Life and career:Condo works in the medium of painting and sculpture...

, poet and philosopher Roger Craton, and filmmaker John McNaughton
John McNaughton
John McNaughton is an American film and television director, originally from Chicago, Illinois.-Biography:His first feature film, made in 1986, was Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a film McNaughton directed, co-wrote, and co-produced. Numerous complications plagued the controversial film,...

.

In 1974 the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics was opened in his honor by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman
Anne Waldman
Anne Waldman is an American poet.Since the 1960s, Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community as a writer, performer, collaborator, professor, editor, scholar, and cultural/political activist....

 at Naropa University
Naropa University
Naropa University is a private American liberal arts university in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford University scholar Chögyam Trungpa, it is named for the eleventh-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa, an abbot of Nalanda.Naropa describes itself as...

, a private Buddhist university in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

. The school offers a BA in Writing and Literature, MFAs in Writing & Poetics and Creative Writing, and a summer writing program.

From 1978 to 1992, Joy Walsh published 28 issues of a magazine devoted to Kerouac, Moody Street Irregulars
Moody Street Irregulars
Moody Street Irregulars was an American publication dedicated to the history and the cultural influences of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. Edited and published by Joy Walsh, it featured articles, memoirs, reviews and poetry. Published from Clarence Center, New York, it had a run of 28...

.

Kerouac's French Canadian origins inspired a 1987 National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions...

 docudrama
Docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 Jack Kerouac's Road - A Franco-American Odyssey, directed by Acadian
Acadian
The Acadians are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia . Acadia was a colony of New France...

 filmmaker Herménégilde Chiasson.

In 1997, the house on Clouser Avenue where The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road...

 was written was purchased by a newly formed non-profit group, The Jack Kerouac Writers in Residence Project of Orlando, Inc.
The Jack Kerouac Writers in Residence Project of Orlando, Inc.
The Jack Kerouac Writers in Residence or Kerouac Project is a registered 501 non profit group in Orlando, Florida. The project provides aspiring writers to live in the house that Jack Kerouac lived in while writing his 1958 novel The Dharma Bums, rent free for 3 months.Kerouac lived in this home...

  This group provides opportunities for aspiring writers to live in the same house in which Kerouac was inspired, with room and board covered for three months.

In 2007, Kerouac was awarded a posthumous honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 from the University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Massachusetts Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public university in Lowell, Massachusetts, and part of the University of Massachusetts system...

.

In 2009, the movie One Fast Move or I'm Gone - Kerouac's Big Sur was released. It chronicles the time in Kerouac's life that led to his novel Big Sur
Big Sur (novel)
Big Sur is a 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac. It recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's three brief sojourns to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti...

, with actors, writers, artists, and close friends giving their insight into the book. The movie also describes the people and places on which Kerouac based his characters and settings, including the cabin in Bixby Canyon. An album released to accompany the movie, "One Fast Move or I'm Gone", features Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band consists of Ben Gibbard , Chris Walla , Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr ....

) and Jay Farrar (Son Volt
Son Volt
Son Volt is an alternative country group formed by Jay Farrar in 1994 after the breakup of the band Uncle Tupelo.-History:The group formed after Farrar met Jim and Dave Boquist during the final Uncle Tupelo tour. Together with former Uncle Tupelo drummer Mike Heidorn, the band rehearsed and...

) performing songs based on Kerouac's Big Sur.

In 2010, during the first weekend of October, the 25th anniversary of the literary festival "Lowell Celebrates Kerouac" was held in Kerouac's birthplace of Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

. It featured walking tours, literary seminars, and musical performances focused on Kerouac's work and that of the Beat Generation.

Independent filmmaker Michael Polish is directing Big Sur
Big Sur (film)
Big Sur is an upcoming film, based on the autobiographical novel Big Sur by Beat Generation poet and novelist Jack Kerouac. The director is independent filmmaker Michael Polish...

, based on the novel, with Jean-Marc Barr
Jean-Marc Barr
Jean-Marc Barr is a French-American film actor and director. His mother is French. His American father was in the US Air Force and served in the Second World War. Jean-Marc Barr is primarily known as an actor, but is also a film director, screenwriter and producer...

 cast as Kerouac. Filming was done in and around Big Sur. The film is set for release in 2012.

Discography

Studio albums
  • Poetry for the Beat Generation
    Poetry For The Beat Generation
    Poetry for the Beat Generation is the debut album of American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac and was originally released in 1959.-History:Kerouac is accompanied by Steve Allen on the piano. All songs were written by Kerouac...

     (with Steve Allen
    Steve Allen
    Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

    ) (1959)
  • Blues and Haikus
    Blues And Haikus
    Blues and Haikus is the American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac's second album and was released in 1959.-History:On the album, Kerouac's poetry readings are accompanied by jazz saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims...

     (with Al Cohn
    Al Cohn
    Al Cohn was an American jazz saxophonist and arranger and composer.-Biography:Alvin Gilbert Cohn was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was initially known in the 1940s for playing in Woody Herman's Second Herd as one of the Four Brothers, along with Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, and Serge Chaloff...

     and Zoot Sims
    Zoot Sims
    John Haley "Zoot" Sims was an American jazz saxophonist, playing mainly tenor and soprano.-Biography:He was born in Inglewood, California, the son of vaudeville performers Kate Haley and John Sims. Growing up in a performing family, Sims learned to play both drums and clarinet at an early age...

    ) (1959)
  • Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation
    Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation
    Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation is the American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac's third album and was released in 1960.-History:...

     (1960)


Compilation albums
  • The Jack Kerouac Collection (1990) [Box] (Audio CD Collection of 3 studio albums)
  • Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road
    Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road
    -Critical reception:Richie Unterberger, in his review for Allmusic, describes the album as "a worthy collection of Jack Kerouac's narratives and poetry", noting that it is particularly enjoyable to hear Kerouac recite his work "since his prose had much of a jazz rhythm, and since he was an engaging...

     (1999)

Further reading

  • Amburm, Ellis. Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac. St. Martin's Press
    St. Martin's Press
    St. Martin's Press is a book publisher headquartered in the Flatiron Building in New York City. Currently, St. Martin's Press is one of the United States' largest publishers, bringing to the public some 700 titles a year under eight imprints, which include St. Martin's Press , St...

    , 1999. ISBN 0-312-20677-1
  • Amram, David. Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac. Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002.ISBN 1-56025-362-2
  • Bartlett, Lee (ed.) The Beats: Essays in Criticism. London: McFarland, 1981.
  • Beaulieu, Victor-Lévy. Jack Kerouac: A Chicken Essay. Coach House Press, 1975.
  • Brooks, Ken. The Jack Kerouac Digest. Agenda, 2001.
  • Cassady, Carolyn. Neal Cassady Collected Letters, 1944-1967. Penguin, 2004. ISBN 0-14-200217-8
  • Cassady, Carolyn. Off the Road: Twenty Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg
    Off the Road
    Off the Road: Twenty Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg is an autobiographical book by Carolyn Cassady. Originally published in 1990 as Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg, it was republished by London's Black Spring Press, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of...

    . Black Spring Press
    Black Spring Press
    Black Spring Press is an independent English publishing house, founded in 1985. The initial published works were lyric and poetry collections by musicians Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen. They have also published Off the Road by Carolyn Cassady, and Nick Cave's debut novel And the Ass Saw the Angel...

    , 1990.
  • Challis, Chris. Quest for Kerouac. Faber & Faber, 1984.
  • Charters, Ann. Kerouac. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books
    Straight Arrow Press
    Straight Arrow Press is a publishing company that publishes the periodicals Us Weekly and Rolling Stone....

    , 1973.
  • Charters, Ann (ed.) The Portable Beat Reader. New York: Penguin, 1992.
  • Charters, Ann (ed.) The Portable Jack Kerouac. New York: Penguin, 1995.
  • Christy, Jim. The Long Slow Death of Jack Kerouac. ECW Press, 1998.
  • Clark, Tom
    Tom Clark (poet)
    Tom Clark is an American poet, editor and biographer. Clark was born on the Near West Side of Chicago and educated at the University of Michigan where he received a Hopwood Award for poetry. On March 22, 1968, he married Angelica Heinegg, at St. Mark’s Church, New York City...

    . Jack Kerouac. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1984.
  • Coolidge, Clark
    Clark Coolidge
    Clark Coolidge is an American poet born in Providence, Rhode Island.Often associated with the Language School, his experience as a Jazz drummer and interest in a wide array of subjects--- including caves, geology, bebop, weather, Salvador Dalí, Jack Kerouac, and movies--- often finds...

    . Now It's Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & the Sounds. Living Batch, 1999.
  • Cook, Bruce. The Beat Generation. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971. ISBN 0-684-12371-1
  • Dagier, Patricia; Quéméner, Hervé. Jack Kerouac: Au Bout de la Route ... La Bretagne. An Here, 1999.
  • Dagier, Patricia ; Quéméner Hervé. Jack Kerouac, Breton d'Amérique. Editions Le Télégramme, 2009.
  • Edington, Stephen. Kerouac's Nashua Roots. Transition, 1999.
  • Ellis, R.J., Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac - Novelist. Greenwich Exchange, 1999.
  • French, Warren. Jack Kerouac. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986.
  • Gaffié, Luc. Jack Kerouac: The New Picaroon. Postillion Press, 1975.
  • Giamo, Ben. "Kerouac, The Word and The Way". Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.
  • Gifford, Barry. "Kerouac's Town". Creative Arts, 1977.
  • Gifford, Barry; Lee, Lawrence. "Jack's Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac". St. Martin's Press, 1978. ISBN 0-14-005269-0
  • Goldstein, N.W., "Kerouac's On the Road." Explicator 50.1. 1991.
  • Haynes, Sarah, "An Exploration of Jack Kerouac's Buddhism:Text and Life"
  • Heller, Christine Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder: Chasing Zen Clouds
  • Hemmer, Kurt. Encyclopedia of Beat Literature: The Essential Guide to the Lives and Works of the Beat Writers. Facts on File, Inc., 2007.
  • Hipkiss, Robert A., Jack Kerouac: Prophet of the New Romanticism. Regents Press, 1976.
  • Holmes, John Clellon. Visitor: Jack Kerouac in Old Saybrook. tuvoti, 1981.
  • Holmes, John Clellon. Gone In October: Last Reflections on Jack Kerouac. Limberlost, 1985.
  • Holton, Robert. On the Road: Kerouac's Ragged American Journey. Twayne, 1999.
  • Hrebeniak, Michael. Action Writing: Jack Kerouac"s Wild Form. Carbondale IL., Southern Illinois UP, 2006.
  • Huebel, Harry Russell. Jack Kerouac. Boise State University
    Boise State University
    Boise State University is a public university located in Boise, Idaho. Originally founded in 1932 as a junior college by the Episcopal Church, the university became an independent institution in 1934, and has been awarding baccalaureate and master degrees since 1965...

    , 1979. available online
  • Hunt, Tim. Kerouac's Crooked Road. Hamden: Archon Books, 1981.
  • Jarvis, Charles. Visions of Kerouac. Ithaca Press, 1973.
  • Johnson, Joyce. Minor Characters: A Young Woman's Coming-Of-Age in the Beat Orbit of Jack Kerouac. Penguin Books, 1999.
  • Johnson, Joyce. Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958. Viking, 2000.
  • Johnson, Ronna C., "You're Putting Me On: Jack Kerouac and the Postmodern Emergence". College Literature. 27.1 2000.
  • Jones, James T., A Map of Mexico City Blues: Jack Kerouac as Poet. Southern Illinois University Press
    Southern Illinois University Press
    Southern Illinois University Press, founded in 1956, is a university press located in Carbondale, Illinois.The press publishes approximately 50 titles annually, among its more than 1,200 titles currently in print....

    , 1992.
  • Jones, James T., Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.
  • Jones, Jim. Use My Name: Kerouac's Forgotten Families. ECW Press, 1999.
  • Jones, Jim. Jack Kerouac's Nine Lives. Elbow/Cityful Press, 2001.
  • Kealing, Bob. Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends. Arbiter Press, 2004.
  • Kerouac, Joan Haverty. Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and the King of the Beats. Creative Arts, 2000.
  • Leland, John
    John Leland (journalist)
    John Leland is an author and has been a New York Times journalist since 2000. During a stint in 1994, he was editor in chief of Details magazine...

    . Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think). New York: Viking Press
    Viking Press
    Viking Press is an American publishing company owned by the Penguin Group, which has owned the company since 1975. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim...

    , 2007. ISBN 978-0-670-06325-3
  • Maher Jr., Paul
    Paul Maher, Jr.
    Paul Maher, Jr. is an author, book critic, photographer and filmmaker best known for his published books about Jack Kerouac.-Biography:Paul Maher Jr. was born on December 6, 1963, in Amarillo, Texas, where his father was stationed in the Air Force. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Lowell,...

    . Kerouac: The Definitive Biography. Lanham: Taylor Trade P, July 2004 ISBN 0-87833-305-3
  • Maher, Paul, Jr. We Know Time: The Literary Cosmos of Jack Kerouac (unpublished work-in-progress)
  • McNally, Dennis. Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America. Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81222-3
  • Miles, Barry. Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats. Virgin, 1998.
  • Montgomery, John. Jack Kerouac: A Memoir ... Giligia Press, 1970.
  • Montgomery, John. Kerouac West Coast. Fels & Firn Press, 1976.
  • Montgomery, John. The Kerouac We Knew. Fels & Firn Press, 1982.
  • Montgomery, John. Kerouac at the Wild Boar. Fels & Firn Press, 1986.
  • Mortenson, Erik R., "Beating Time: Configurations of Temporality in Jack Kerouac's On the Road". College Literature 28.3. 2001.
  • Motier, Donald. Gerard: The Influence of Jack Kerouac's Brother on his Life and Writing. Beaulieu Street Press, 1991.
  • Nicosia, Gerald. Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. Berkeley: U of Cal P, 1994. ISBN 0-520-08569-8
  • Parker, Brad. "Jack Kerouac: An Introduction". Lowell Corporation for the Humanities, 1989.
  • Sandison, David. Jack Kerouac. Hamlyn, 1999.
  • Swick, Thomas. "South Florida Sun Sentinel". February 22, 2004. Article: "Jack Kerouac in Orlando".
  • Theado, Matt. Understanding Jack Kerouac. Columbia: University of South Carolina
    University of South Carolina
    The University of South Carolina is a public, co-educational research university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States, with 7 surrounding satellite campuses. Its historic campus covers over in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House...

    , 2000.
  • Turner, Steve. Angelheaded Hipster: A Life of Jack Kerouac. Viking Books, 1996. ISBN 0-670-87038-2
  • Walsh, Joy, editor. Moody Street Irregulars: A Jack Kerouac Newsletter
    Moody Street Irregulars
    Moody Street Irregulars was an American publication dedicated to the history and the cultural influences of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. Edited and published by Joy Walsh, it featured articles, memoirs, reviews and poetry. Published from Clarence Center, New York, it had a run of 28...

  • Weinreich, Regina. The Spontaneous Poetics of Jack Kerouac. Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.
  • Wills, David, editor. Beatdom Magazine. Mauling Press, 2007.


External links

  • Jack Kerouac Papers at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library
    Rare Book & Manuscript Library
    The Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library is located on the 6th Floor of Columbia University's Butler Library. The library holds the special collections of Columbia University, as well as the Columbia University Archives. The range of the library's holdings spans more than 4,000...

     at Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

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