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Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957-1960: On the Road / The Dharma Bums / The Subterraneans / Tristessa / Lonesome Traveler / Journal Selections (Library of America) Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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Kerouac, for all his personal failings and his difficulties with alcoholism and substance abuse, had a better understanding of what his work was about than did some of his critics. In his introduction to "Lonesome Traveler", Kerouac wrote: "Always considered writing my duty on earth. Also the preachment of universal kindness, which hysterical critics have failed to notice beneath frenetic activity of my true-story novels about the 'beat' generation. -- Am actually not 'beat' but strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic."
Kerouac's novels are autobiographical in character. His works lack artistic distance, but they more than compensate for this lack with their immediacy and sense of honesty. They describe a complex and torn individual whose life had been riddled with failure but who was driven to succeed as a writer. Part of Kerouac rejected mainstream American conformity and materialism in favor of a bohemian life of spontanaiety, sex, and wild experience.Read more ›
"On the Road" was an instant best seller for Kerouac, yet is it is a strange book in many ways. Like all of Kerouac's novels it is a slightly fictionalized autobiography. It concern's a period in his life when he became infatuated with Neil Cassidy (Dean Moriarty) and the search for something never fully defined. Much like the recent hit comedy, "Seinfeld", nothing really happens in this novel. Yet it is a fascinating read because it is filled with touching, funny, or bizarre events that are interesting perhaps because they lead nowhere. This set the pattern for the whole road novel series. These novels also reflect and describe the anomie felt by Kerouac till the day of his death. Some maintain that the third novel in this series "The Subterraneans" is the best, but this is debatable. It also is claimed that the so-called `beat generation' was spawned by the first novel of the series. This is nonsense.
"On the Road" actually refers to events that happened ten years before its publication in 1947-48.Read more ›
Whether this literary blitz will land a grand revival of Kerouac's work by old and new generations is yet unseen. But it secures his reputation as a major American writer because his voice resonates with great poignant prose of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and John Steinbeck, celebrating wonders and adventures of youthful travels on the open road.
On The Road helped kick off the 1950s literary "Beat Generation", including works of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. It recounts early adventures of Kerouac ("Sal Paradise"), sidekick Neal Cassady ("Dean Moriarty"), Burroughs ("Old Bull Lee"), Ginsberg ("Carlo Marx") and others as they traveled the country in stolen and transport service cars, and partied with sex and drugs while digging be-bop jazz and celebrating the sights and sounds of America. One 1949 trip was to Burroughs' New Orleans house on Wagner Street in Algiers, now renovated and commemorated by an historical marker on its grounds with a quotation from On The Road. Kerouac wrote of crossing the Mississippi River on the Algiers ferry.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just a quibble with the Amazon description of this book. "The Beat Generation" was not coined by Jack Kerouac, although he was the first one to use it in print. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Moore
When I read these novels by Jack Kerouac, I feel the restlessness, the spontaneity, the music worship, the spinning in circles of the Hippies of the sixties. Read morePublished 12 months ago by william newmoon
Bought this for my graduating son who loves to write. ... He was thrilled!!Published 22 months ago by Avid Book Reader
This book is in new perfect condition. It has a glossy cover, and an attached bookmark. This collection of stories is such a good value! Not a negative thing could be said. Read morePublished on May 22, 2014 by missLI
This was an amazing purchase. Excellent hard cover binding and then set in a fancy white faux leather book case. I am overwhelmed with the value that I received for the price. Read morePublished on April 22, 2014 by rufdmnd
Read all of these in the sixties..I was in high school and thought I was pretty "cool"while everyone else were making up book reports of books they hadn't read. Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by buckie
Covers everything you need from Kerouac, it's the one to get because once you read him you'll want the rest!Published on March 9, 2014 by Gregory E. Mathwick