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Jack Kerouac - book author

Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.


Jack Kerouac is the author of books: On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, On the Road: the Original Scroll, Lonesome Traveler, Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings, Tristessa, Maggie Cassidy

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01
When Jack Kerouac’s On the Road first appeared in 1957, readers instantly felt the beat of a new literary rhythm. A fictionalised account of his own journeys across America with his friend Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s beatnik odyssey captured the soul of a generation and changed the landscape of American fiction for ever.

Influenced by Jack London and Thomas Wolfe, Kerouac always wanted to be a writer, but his true voice only emerged when he wrote about his own experiences in On the Road. Leaving a broken marriage behind him, Sal Paradise (Kerouac) joins Dean Moriarty (Cassady), a tearaway and former reform school boy, on a series of journeys that takes them from New York to San Francisco, then south to Mexico. Hitching rides and boarding buses, they enter a world of hobos and drifters, fruit-pickers and migrant families, small towns and wide horizons. Adrift from conventional society, they experience America in the raw: a place where living is hard, but ‘life is holy and every moment is precious’.

With its smoky, jazz-filled atmosphere and its restless, yearning spirit of adventure, On the Road left its mark on the culture of the late 20th century, influencing countless books, films and songs. Kerouac’s prose is remarkable both for its colloquial swing and for the pure lyricism inspired by the American landscape – ‘the backroads, the black-tar roads that curve among the mournful rivers like Susquehanna, Monongahela, old Potomac and Monocacy’. This Folio Society edition is illustrated with evocative photographs of Kerouac and the landscapes of 1950s America. Now acknowledged as a modern classic, On the Road remains a thrilling and poignant story of the road less travelled.
02
Two ebullient young men search for Truth the Zen way: from marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and "yabyum" in San Francisco's Bohemia, to solitude in the high Sierras and a vigil atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Published just a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums is sparked by Kerouac's expansiveness, humor, and a contagious zest for life.
03
"Each book by Jack Kerouac is unique, a telepathic diamond. With prose set in the middle of his mind, he reveals consciousness itself in all its syntactic elaboration, detailing the luminous emptiness of his own paranoiac confusion. Such rich natural writing is nonpareil in later half XX century, a synthesis of Proust, Céline, Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway, Genet, Thelonius Monk, Basho, Charlie Parker & Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight.

"Big Sur's humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a superior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished—others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco's poets & recognize hero Dean Moriarty ten years after On the Road. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer,' as his great peer W.S. Burroughs says, and here at the peak of his suffering humorous genius he wrote through his misery to end with 'Sea,' a brilliant poem appended, on the hallucinatory Sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur."—Allen Ginsberg 10/10/91 N.Y.C.
04
Jack Kerouac, one of the great voices of the Beat generation and author of the classic On the Road, here continues his peregrinations in postwar, underground San Francisco. "The subterraneans" come alive at night, travel along dark alleyways, and live in a world filled with paint, poetry, music, smoke, and sex. Simmering in the center of it all is the brief affair between Leo Percepied, a writer, and Mardou Fox, a black woman ten years younger. Just at the moment when she is coolly leaving him, Leo realizes his passion for passion, his inability to function without it, and the puzzling futility of seeking redemption and fulfillment through writing.
05
With the publication of On the Road in 1957, Jack Kerouac became at once the spokesman and hero of the Beat Generation. Along with such visionaries as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac changed the face of American literature, igniting a counterculture revolution that even now, decades later, burns brighter than ever in Desolation Angels.

In one of the major cinematic events of 2012, Jack Kerouac's legendary Beat classic, On the Road, finally hits the big screen. Directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries; Paris, Je T'Aime) and with a cast of some of Hollywood's biggest young stars, including Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams (Julie & Julia, The Fighter), Tom Sturridge, and Viggo Mortensen (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Road), the film will attract new fans who will be inspired by Kerouac's revolutionary writing.
07
As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Jack Kerouac breathlessly records, in prose of pure poetry, the life of the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat night life in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacré-Coeur – Kerouac reveals the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment.
08
Before Jack Kerouac expressed the spirit of a generation in his 1957 classic, On the Road, he spent years figuring out how he wanted to live and, above all, learning how to write. Atop an Underwood brings together more than sixty previously unpublished works that Kerouac wrote before he was twenty-two, ranging from stories and poems to plays and parts of novels, including an excerpt from his 1943 merchant marine novel, The Sea Is My Brother. These writings reveal what Kerouac was thinking, doing, and dreaming during his formative years, and reflect his primary literary influences. Readers will also find in these works the source of Kerouac's spontaneous prose style.

Uncovering a fascinating missing link in Kerouac's development as a writer, Atop an Underwood is essential reading for Kerouac fans, scholars, and critics.
09
Tristessa is the name with which Kerouac baptized Esperanza Villanueva, a Catholic Mexican young woman, a prostitute and addict to certain drugs, whom he fell in love with during one of his stays in Mexico -a country that he frequently visited - by the middle of the fifties. Wrapped in a spiritual atmosphere that expresses the yearnings of Kerouac to find himself, "Tristessa", translated by Jorge García- Robles, a specialist in the beat generation, is the story of the strange loving relationship that the author had with Esperanza, as well as the significant description of the atmosphere that surrounded it, which depicts some key places of Mexico City back then.Hero of the beat generation, the creator of a model of life that would be followed by thousands of young people in the entire world, a sui generis mystic, "Tristessa", which until recently was not known in Spanish and that was published in English, is one of his fresher and better achieved works.

Tristessa es el nombre con el que Kerouac bautizó a Esperanza Villanueva, una joven mexicana católica, prostituta y adicta a ciertas drogas, de quien se enamoró durante una de sus estancias en México, país que visitaba con frecuencia, a mediados de los años cincuenta. Tristessa, en la traducción de Jorge García- Robles, especialista en la generación beat, es el relato de la extraña relación amorosa que tuvo con Esperanza, así como la significativa descripción del ambiente que la rodeaba, en la que aparecen retratos de algunos lugares clave de la Ciudad de México: Plaza Garibaldi, Niño Perdido, la colonia Roma. Escritor «al rojo vivo», como lo calificó Henry Miller, héroe de la generación beat, creador de un modelo de vida que seguirían miles de jóvenes en todo el mundo, místico sui géneris, Tristessa, que hasta hace poco no se conocía en español y que se publicó en inglés apenas hace diez años, es una de sus obras más frescas y mejor logradas.
10
"When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry MillerOne of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the early and mid-1950s, Maggie Cassidy was not published until 1959, after the appearance of On the Road had made its author famous overnight, Long out of print, this touching novel of adolescent love in a New England mill town, with its straight-forward narrative structure, is one of Kerouac's most accesible works. It is a remarkable , bittersweet evocation of the awkwardness and the joy of growing up in America.