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Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46 Paperback – June 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140236392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140236392
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in 1968 (LJ 2/15/68) shortly before the author's untimely death the following year at age 47, this is more or less a biography of Kerouac's fictional alter ego, Jack Duluoz, which, of course, means that it is really an autobiography of Kerouac himself. The book covers Kerouac's/ Duluoz's life during the years 1935-46.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

More About the Author

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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Customer Reviews

That's just not a good enough reason to write a book.
Bruce Hutton
Writing during the late 1960's, there is a nostalgia for his youth and the time when America grew up very fast during the late Depression years and WWII.
Luke Killion
This is a sincere, lovely, heartbreaking and haunting book of reflections at the end of a pained but adventurous life.
N.N.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Clyde Phillips on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thomas Wolfe served as a mentor to the young Jack Kerouac and greatly influenced Kerouac's first novel, "The Town and the City," in both scope and syle. And although Kerouac would soon develop his own unique vision and voice he could never tear himself completely from Wolfe's influence and the need to re-write or re-tell what had already been written or told. Just as Wolfe retold the story of Eugene Gant in his "The Web and the Rock" and "You Can't Go Home Again," Kerouac did the same with this novel. Readers of "The Town and the City," "Doctor Sax," and "Maggie Cassidy" will recognize the same characters (although under different names) and events that populate these other novels. What separates this novel from the others, however, is Kerouac's point of view. Gone is the childlike, wide-eyed enthusiasm that often drives Kerouac's writings (even in the depressing "Big Sur"); this is replaced with a middle aged cynicism and bitterness.
This novel covers the events from 1935-46, and follows the author from his teen age years in Lowell, Mass. to New York City. It is a time of football, college at Columbia, stints in the merchant marine and the U.S. Navy, introduction to the bohemian lifestyles of Morningside Heights and Greenwich Village, experimentation with marriage, experimentation with drugs. William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg and other writers and artists who would eventually comprise the Beat Generation are encountered and described in a more critical light than in other of Kerouac's writings. Ginsberg is described as "a Puerto Rican nonentity bus boy in a nowhere void," and Burroughs as a great writer, "a shadow hovering over western literature.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hutton on August 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, even the stars in the heavens sometimes fall. This is what happened to Jack Kerouac in his final years, and this book is exhibit A.

Kerouac was never the "life is a thrill a minute joy-fest" guy that he's often mistaken for by young people who read "On The Road" and the others for the first time. (Myself included, many years ago) A rereading of his books later in life reveals how sad and confused a man he really was; his novels are a quest, they are not the answer. There are answers in them, but "hit the road and forget everything you were taught by your parents and your teachers" is not an answer he ever gave or intended to give. Kerouac was a profoundly lonely man, so lonely that he let many of his friends treat him like a dog (remember Dean abandoning him in Mexico in "Road") and not only came back for more but wrote some of the greatest books ever written about them.

But his loneliness and confusion truly came home to roost after he became famous. Fame made him bitter and forced him to drink and isolate himself ever more in order to deal with it. He wrote about this in "Big Sur," unquestionably one of his best books, and his power as a writer never left him...but in "Vanity of Duluoz" we see how far he's slipped from the great Journeyman he was two decades earlier. Particularly in the novel's early passages, he rails against modern society and moans over how much better things were when he was young, and it poisons his writing almost fatally. Of course, he is hardly the only writer to complain about the world; one of his greatest influences, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, practically made a career of it, but Celine made it FUNNY, and that makes all the difference. Nobody wants to hear an old man bitch about these kids today, if that's his only point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Where is he? Where am I? Where are you?" The forlorn words of a reminiscing soul. Vanity of Dulouz is a novel of reflection, tragedy, remorse, and the passing of time that not only gives insight into the perception of Jack Kerouac (legendary writer of On the Road) and his views on his youth but insight of the wisdom gained in age. A humorous and melancholy novel that transcends the boundaries of law and country into the realm of humanity and what it means to be human
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By N.N. on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
For all intents and purposes this is Kerouac's last real novel. With great fondness and honesty, he goes over a lot of the same themes and events as in his earlier works, but now he's tired, not feeling the need to prove anything and just barely holding on to hopes that things ever get better. This is a sincere, lovely, heartbreaking and haunting book of reflections at the end of a pained but adventurous life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By petite souris on July 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
No, this isn't just for fanatics! If you want a history of good ol' Jack, then yes, it is just for fanatics. However, if you just want an exciting adventure, it's for anyone. This book has got something for everybody, seriously. It has crime, "romance", adventure on the high seas, everything and more.... and then there's always sport (now there's an obscure M. Python reference! Good thing it fits(:) Anyway, this book is a clasic, no matter what stuffy old lit scholars say. One of my favourite quotes comes from this one: "Insofar as nobody loves my dashes anyway, I'll use regular punctuation for the new illiterate generation." What's my favourite Jack quote? "Holy suffering cows!", that's what (:
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