Jack Kerouac: Contribution as American Novelist

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      Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), was a poet and novelist of par excellence. He was born Jean - Louis Kerouac in Lowell, Massachusetts, and educated at Columbia University. After spending some time as a merchant seaman and wandering around the USA he published the first of his semi-autobiographical novels the Town and the City (1950) about family in home town, the son of an impoverished French-Canadian family. Also he also questioned the values of middle-class life. He met members of the “Beat” literary underground an under-graduate at Columbia University in New York City. His fiction was much influenced by the loosely autobiographical work of southern novelist Thomas Wolfe.

      Kerouac’s best-known novel, On the Road (1957) describes “beatniks” wandering through America seeking an idealistic dream of communal life and beauty. The novel also tells about the aimless search for the significant experience of the Beats. The book established Kerouac as the novelist of the beats. The Dhanna Bums (1958) also focuses on peripatetic counterculture intellectuals and their infatuation with Zen Buddhism. Triestessa (1960) Big Sur (1962), Desolation Angels (1965) are all products of the Beats ‘consciousness’. Doctor Sax and Maggie Cassidy (both 1959) and Visions of Gerard (1963) are evocations of Kerouac’s boyhood. Among his other books axe-Lonesome Traveled (1960; travel sketches) Mexico City Blues (1959; verse) and Book of Dreams (1961). Visions of Cody, written in 1951-51 was published posthumously in 1971. Kerouac also penned a book of poetry, Mexico City Blues (1959) and volumes about his life with such beatniks as experimental novelist William Burroughs and the poet Allen Ginsberg.

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