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Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation [NOOK Book]

Overview

A biography of the two comrades whose friendship defined what it meant to be one of The Beats

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Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation

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Overview

A biography of the two comrades whose friendship defined what it meant to be one of The Beats

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604735802
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Ann Charters

Ann Charters, Storrs, Connecticut, is professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut, where she taught for more than thirty years. She is the author and editor of numerous books on writers of the Beat Generation, including Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation?, The Portable Beat Reader, and Kerouac: A Biography.

Samuel Charters, the eminent historian of jazz and blues music, is the author of A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz (University Press of Mississippi), the award-winning The Roots of the Blues, and numerous other titles.

Biography

It's nearly impossible to come across a significant study of Jack Kerouac without encountering the name Ann Charters. A foremost Beat scholar, she wrote the first biography of the On the Road author and has studied his milieu for over 20 years. Charters also has a personal connection to back up her scholarly interest in the Beats: When she was a junior at University of California, Berkeley, her roommate set her up on a date with Peter Orlovsky. Charters was actually in love with her professor, Sam Charters, whom she later married; as for Orlovsky, he was Allen Ginsberg's boyfriend. Charters said in a magazine interview, "My roommate...said to me, 'I'll fix you up with a wonderful boy who's your own age.' This was Peter Orlovsky, before he was living with Allen, and who considered 'Howl' to be the greatest poem since Whitman's Leaves of Grass."

Though the romance didn't pan out, Charters' love of the Beats endured, and she became the genre's anthologist of note. After completing biographies of Kerouac and the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, Charters assembled the now-classic The Story and Its Writer, a collection of exemplary short stories and commentary by and about authors such as Raymond Carver and Anton Chekhov. In addition to her taste and eye for good literature, one of Charters' strengths is her ability to incorporate the author's voice. She got Kerouac's cooperation on her biography of him and included the authors' own analyses of their work in The Story and Its Writer.

This acumen probably reached its apotheosis when Charters edited a collection of Kerouac's letters. By that time, a second Kerouac biography, Memory Babe by Gerald Nicosia, had been released, and as Charters told the Alsop Review, "my book was, I thought, in comparison, woefully inadequate." She continued, "That's why I took on the editing, because I saw with the letters that it could be a way of giving a biography through my selection, which emphasizes Jack's life as a writer.... If I were to write a biography -- and I will not rewrite my first biography -- well, I've done that with this two-volume set."

Though she has focused on Kerouac in her work, Charters has also done a lot to improve the understanding of Beat literature in general, not only by editing well-known anthologies such as The Portable Beat Reader but also by writing introductions and essays in editions of major works. For a British anthology called The Penguin Book of the Beats (which follows the structure of The Portable Beat Reader), she explained her approach in a publisher's interview: "I decided I wouldn't just alphabetically arrange my favorite Beat writers or put them in big sections, like Poetry, Fiction, Essays. I would organize it historically, so that someone who didn't know much about Beat writing could come in and use the book as an introduction to the whole field and have some guidelines."

Charters is appealing as an editor and anthologist because she embraces, rather than trying to distance herself from, her personal connection to the era she covers. With The Portable Sixties Reader, her most expansive collection yet, she continues to illuminate a crucial literary era.

Good To Know

Charters has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of Connecticut, where she has been a professor of English since 1974.

Charters on Kerouac's detractors: "Most people are, at heart, good people, but fairly conservative. They really like to think that there's a tried-and-true way of writing, and you sit and write 13 revisions. And when they hear that he's bragging that he's written it in one draft they kind of get their hackles up." (online zine interview)

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    1. Hometown:
      Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bridgeport, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1957; M.A., Columbia University, 1959; Ph.D., 1965

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

A Prologue

1 A Usable Past 3

2 The Magic of Words 16

3 Whatever World There Would Be 26

4 The Stale Bread of Dedication 47

5 A Weekend in July 65

6 A Kind of Beatness 83

7 Neal & Co. 101

8 This Particular Kind of Madness 117

9 Angelic Visions 131

10 In the Temple of the Gods 150

11 A Torrent of Words 173

12 The Liveitup Kid 196

13 Perfect Fools 216

14 The Rising Tide of Fame 236

15 What Am I Doing Here? 259

16 The Horn 279

17 Too-Late Words 291

18 A Sweet Attention 304

19 To the Edge of Eros 319

20 Gypsying 332

21 A Turn of the Circle 352

22 Gone in October 371

23 On a Porch in Boulder 385

24 Final Chorus 400

Notes 405

Bibliography 427

Index 432

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