×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend: The Mythic Form of an Autobiographical Fiction
     

Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend: The Mythic Form of an Autobiographical Fiction

by James T Jones
 

In the only critical examination of all of Jack Kerouac's published prose, James T. Jones turns to Freud to show how the great Beat writer used the Oedipus myth to shape not only his individual works but also the entire body of his writing.

Like Balzac, Jones explains, Kerouac conceived an overall plan for his total writing corpus, which he called the Duluoz

Overview

In the only critical examination of all of Jack Kerouac's published prose, James T. Jones turns to Freud to show how the great Beat writer used the Oedipus myth to shape not only his individual works but also the entire body of his writing.

Like Balzac, Jones explains, Kerouac conceived an overall plan for his total writing corpus, which he called the Duluoz Legend after Jack Duluoz, his fictional alter ego. While Kerouac's work attracts biographical treatment—the ninth full-length biography was published in 1998—Jones takes a Freudian approach to focus on the form of the work. Noting that even casual readers recognize family relationships as the basis for Kerouac's autobiographical prose, Jones discusses these relationships in terms of Freud's notion of the Oedipus complex.

After establishing the basic biographical facts and explaining Freud's application of the Oedipus myth, Jones explicates Kerouac's novels of childhood and adolescence, focusing on sibling rivalry. Supporting his contention that the Beat writer worked according to a plan, Jones then shows how Kerouac revised The Town and the City (1950), his first published novel, in Vanity of Duluoz, the last novel published in his lifetime, to de-emphasize the death of the father. He treats three versions of Kerouac's road novel—including On the Road—as versions of Oedipus's fateful journey from Corinth to Thebes. And he argues that Pic, often considered peripheral to the Duluoz Legend, replicates the Oedipal themes.

Jones demonstrates that Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Tristessa share a form that results from Kerouac's unresolved rivalry with his father for the love of his mother. He discusses Kerouac's replacement of the destructive brother figures in On the Road and Visions of Cody with the constructive hero of The Dharma Bums. He also shows how the Oedipal structure of the Duluoz Legend applies to Kerouac's nonfiction.

In the penultimate chapter, Jones explains how Big Sur, Kerouac's story of his alcohol-induced nervous breakdown, actually marks the climax of the Duluoz Legend. The alcoholism, Jones insists, is not the cause but a symptom of a breakdown brought on by his attachment to his mother. He shows how Kerouac's obsession with his family repeats Oedipal themes throughout the Duluoz Legend. Finally, he deals with Oedipal themes in Kerouac's nonnarrative work, including Old Angel Midnight, Some of the Dharma, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, and several poems.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[James T. Jones] adds another dimension to the growing body of critical work on Kerouac. As he has accomplished in his very fine study, A Map of Mexico City Blues: Jack Kerouac as Poet, Jones enlarges the reader's understanding of Kerouac by placing his work in a European and American literary context, and creating new critical categories by which to explore the issues at large in Kerouac's oeuvre. By regrouping the Kerouac texts, Jones offers new insights . . . another window into Kerouac's world."—Regina Weinreich, author of The Spontaneous Poetics of Jack Kerouac

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809322633
Publisher:
Southern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

James T. Jones, a professor of English at Southwest Missouri State University, is the author of A Map of Mexico City Blues: Jack Kerouac as Poet and Use My Name: Jack Kerouac's Forgotten Families.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews