Kerouac: The Definitive Biography

Kerouac: The Definitive Biography


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This is the authoritative biography of legendary writer, poet, and Beat Generation icon Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), whose novel On the Road catapulted him to the forefront of the literary world and influenced budding writers for generation to come. Here, Paul Maher offers not a linear study of Kerouac's life, but an integrated pastiche of his life and work. He investigates the key relationships that affected his development as an artist, including his three wives, numerous girlfriends, and beloved mother. He also provided insight into Kerouac's spontaneous prose, with its echoes of jazz, in The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Desolation Angels as well as some of his lesser known works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780878333059
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/01/2004
Pages: 484
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.76(d)

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Foreword   David Amram     xv
The Seeds of Galloway
The Kerouacs of Nashua: January 1720-1925     3
The Ethereal Flower: 1926-1933     18
"Wits Abound in Lowell Too": 1933-1935     29
Now a Flood Will Bring the Rest: Spring 1936     38
Order, Tenderness, and Piety: Fall 1936-Spring 1939     44
The Dawn of Jazz in America
Aloof from Teeming Humanity: Fall 1939-1940     61
A Kernel of Eternity: February-Summer 1941     75
The Furious Poet: Fall 1941     81
The Wound of Living: December 1941-Spring 1942     92
Among the Philistines: March 1943-November 1944     107
True Thoughts Abound: 1945-Spring 1948     131
Toward a New Vision: Summer-Fall 1948     154
Essence of Mind
What Kicks: January-February 1949     179
Back East: February-April 1949     187
Denver Doldrums: May-June 1949     198
Go Moan for Man: July 1949-Summer 1950     203
Shadow Changes into Bone: Fall 1950-Spring 1951     217
Beat Fellaheen: Summer 1951-Fall 1952     239
The Shrouded Traveler: Fall 1952-Fall 1953     260
Lake of Light: December 1953-April 1955     284
TheConsolidation of Fame
The Sage of Rocky Mount: July-December 1955     307
Passing Through: January-December 1956     322
Before the Fall: January-September 1957     334
Everything Exploded: September 1957-April 1958     355
Northport: May 1958-January 1959     374
Pull My Daisy: January-September 1959     389
"I Am the Flames": October 1959-October 1960     394
Ghostly Friend in God
The Sad Light of the Old Decade: October 1960-October 1962     413
Days of Autumn: Spring 1963-Summer 1964     435
The Ghost Hells of My Heart: Fall 1964-January 1967     444
The Golden Baby of Heaven: January 1967-October 1969     460
The Deluge     475
Acknowledgments     483
Fictional Names in the Novels of Jack Kerouac     487
Books That Comprise the Duluoz Legend     491
Notes     493
Selected Bibliography of Jack Kerouac's Work     521
Index     523
About the Author     557

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Kerouac: The Definitive Biography 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the title, there's nothing new here of any substance and, worse, if this is the only Kerouac biography you read, you won't get a feel for him as a person. Stick with Memory Babe as the truly definitive bio to date, with Subterranean Kerouac as an interesting, aside.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good bio with help of the Kerouac estate and not 2nd or 3rd hand info; an easy read. Peter E Scott
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since my review won't be published, I will write it here. Maher handles the facts of Kerouac's life rather adeptly emphasizing the major points of the writer's formative years. New information abounds as evident by the research put into the Lowell years of Kerouac's childhood and his early years as a struggling writer. As Kerouac escalates closer to fame, the pace quickens following the beat writer every step of the way in exciting, fuel-driven prose . . . this is how the book worked for me. What I found the book lacked was a just-as-comprehensive detailing of Kerouac's last years. Though Maher does go into the 1960s decade rather nicely including altercations and experiences with Timothy Leary, Florida bar pals and Northport hangers-ons, the page count lessens and we are left wondering how much was actually cut out of the manuscript as it seems to jump here and there (then again, this is a galley I am reading from). If you like gutsy writing without shrinking back from the sometimes-abhorrent facts of Kerouac's post-fame, alcoholic life, I would recommend Maher's book; had he spent more time writing of Kerouac's last years, the biography would have been perfect (for me that is). At over 500 pages, Maher does the job nicely giving us a fair, unbiased portrait of one of America's most controversial icons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maher's biography reveals a Kerouac that does more than follow his life through his works, it brings us into his harrowing world of relentless artistry, brutal alcoholism, unsated sexuality, and the bopping along to jazz bebop that was the veritable soundtrack for Kerouac and Neal Cassady as they trekked across late-1940s America. I read this from a galley I borrowed from a professor, and I felt that the writer did a great job merging the writer's life with his art and in bringing a complete picture that is only topped by the publication of Kerouac's own letters. I highly recommend this book for anyone that has the desire to know the truth and not the myth (he has done a lot of research evident from the numerous endnotes). Definitely a must-read!!! Also, I don't know what was up with the Publisher's Weekly review other than it is plain wrong. This biography DOES have something to contribute to Kerouac scholarship for it made me understand the man and his motivations with better clarity than all previous ones written.