Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters

Overview

"[An] essential Beat masterpiece." —The Village Voice.

Perhaps one of the last great dual correspondences of the twentieth century, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters reveals not only the process of creation of the two most celebrated members of the Beat Generation, but also the unfolding of a remarkable friendship of immense pathos and spiritual depth. Through this exhilarating exchange of letters, two-thirds of which have never been published before, Kerouac and ...

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Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters

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Overview

"[An] essential Beat masterpiece." —The Village Voice.

Perhaps one of the last great dual correspondences of the twentieth century, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters reveals not only the process of creation of the two most celebrated members of the Beat Generation, but also the unfolding of a remarkable friendship of immense pathos and spiritual depth. Through this exhilarating exchange of letters, two-thirds of which have never been published before, Kerouac and Ginsberg emerge first and foremost as writers of artistic passion, innovation, and genius. Vivid and enthralling, the letters, which date from their first meeting in 1944 to Kerouac's untimely death in 1969, chronicle the endless struggle, anguish, and sacrifice involved in giving form to their literary visions.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
These letters can be as long-winded, rambling, visionary and impenetrable as each man's writing style would suggest. But they can also be sharp, lucid, funny, tender, intimate, gossipy, jubilant and absolutely honest about the two aspiring authors' gigantic ambitions.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
Kerouac and Ginsberg first met on Columbia University's campus in 1943, both tyro authors drawn to each other by a love of literature. This remarkable collection of letters—two-thirds of which are published here for the first time—documents their friendship through 1963, six years before Kerouac's untimely death. Open-hearted and richly detailed, the letters discuss the authors' personal lives and loves, their investigations into Buddhism, their ongoing creative projects, and their struggle to find outlets for their works leading up to the publication of Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems in 1956 and Kerouac's On The Road in 1957. Rich in news about fellow Beat writers, including John Clellon Holmes, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso, among others, their correspondence provides a bird's-eye view of what went into the making and marketing of the Beat Generation. VERDICT The publication of these letters between two of America's leading 20th-century authors is an extraordinary event in American literature, particularly welcome in this era of chat and Twitter.—William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143119548
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 633,209
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet 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.

Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant. He is the author of The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac’s City, The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour, and edited Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays of Allen Ginsberg 1952–1995. Also for October 2006 publication, he has edited Ginsberg’s The Book of Martrydom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems, 1937–1952, with Jaunita Lieberman-Plimpton, as well as Howl on Trial: the Battle for Free Expression.

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