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Welcome to this collection on Jack Kerouac. Plenty of mainstream information is available on Kerouac out there ... what you'll find here are links that may otherwise escape notice. I've also posted some images from an exhibit at the New York Public Library, which displayed items from Kerouac's personal possessions as part of the exhibit"Beatific Soul."
You'll also find links to some of my blog posts on Kerouac, and especially his time in Rocky Mount, North Carolina (my hometown).
Audio from Jim Canary, conservator of Jack Kerouac's On the Road scroll, which was on view at several locations this year, including the New York Public Library.
For a complete list of entries on Kerouac visit Writers Bloc: The Fiction Daily index
The great American novel of the 1950s, considered the forerunner to the '60s, "On the Road" was written in a furious three-week period in April 1951. That's the myth, and though it's true, Jack Kerouac was a dedicated thinker and note-taker who many times sketched out this great novel before sitting down that day in early April with the enormous scroll of planner's paper he found in his girlfriend's closet.
The New York Public Library put that original scroll on display in an enormous exhibit, "Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road."
Marion made a pilgrimage to New York to see this mythical, 120-foot-long scroll. Also on view were his notebooks, paintings, notes and novel outlines.
PHOTO: Allen Ginsberg, photographer. “Jack Kerouac Avenue A across from Thompkins [sic] Park 1953, New York, his handsome face looking into barroom door—This is best profile of his intelligence as I saw it. Sacred, time of Subterraneans writing.” Gelatin silver print, October(?) 1953. New York Public Library, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Photography Collection. Reproduced courtesy of the Allen Ginsberg Estate.
IMAGES from the exhibit with commentary below. More added daily. Visit Fiction Daily to read more.
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) rarely stayed in one place for very long, but he lived for some months just outside Rocky Mount, N.C., my hometown, in an area that's today known as West Mount. In the 1950s, it was called Big Easonburg Woods. He lived with his sister, Caroline or "Nin" and her husband, Paul, and their son, Paul Jr. Kerouac often wrote and slept on the screened-in back porch, as many of us from eastern North Carolina have done even in winter.
ABOVE: Jack Kerouac. “NIGHT NOTES & Diagrams for ON THE ROAD.” Manuscript notes for the novel, November 1949. New York Public Library, Berg Collection, Jack Kerouac Archive. Reproduced courtesy of John G. Sampas, legal representative of the estates of Jack and Stella Kerouac.
For larger view click here
Jack Kerouac. Design for front cover of proposed paperback edition of On the Road, 1952. NYPL, Berg Collection, Jack Kerouac Archive. Reproduced courtesy of John G. Sampas, legal representative of the estates of Jack and Stella Kerouac. Larger view here
Signal lantern used by Jack Kerouac, who worked as a railroad brakeman, a very physically demanding occupation.
Face of Buddha by Jack Kerouac, 1956, the only work of this style, created in Rocky Mount, N.C., during his Buddhist studies.
"Some of the Dharma" is less known than Kerouac's other works, but its poems, thoughts and designs capture Buddhist ideas. Written largely in Rocky Mount, N.C.
A manuscript for "Gone on the Road," later rewritten as the mythical scroll "On the Road."
Before "On the Road" there was "The Town and the City." An American passed here.
Anyone who thinks Jack Kerouac was a spontaneous genius never saw his endless notes before beginning On the Road, including this outline.
Racing sheet, "Turf Authority," created by 14-year-old Kerouac. Read more here
He was a football hero in high school, earning a scholarship to Columbia University
The Kerouac family in a bar, a image foreshadowing Jack Kerouac's alcoholism.
As part of his own journey as a writer, Kerouac dispensed with traditional narrative process and in a single burst of literary activity wrote the novel in about three weeks in 1951. He typed it onto 120-feet of taped paper sheets; together his manuscript forms a a scroll that reflects the seeming infinity of blacktop leading west. Legend has mistakenly registered it as an episode of first-draft brilliance, but Kerouac had been working on drafts for years. Nicknamed “Memory Babe” because of his prodigious recall, he likely had the entire novel scripted in his mind before sitting at the typewriter that April day in New York. Indeed, he obsessed over writing. The act of writing, like Sal’s act of traveling, allowed Kerouac to find the ethereal.
-- Marion Blackburn
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