The Unknown Kerouac



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In On the Road and other iconic works, Jack Kerouaccreated a quintessentially American voice and a revolutionaryprose style. This remarkable gathering ofpreviously unpublished writings reveals as neverbefore the extraordinary literary journey that led to hisphenomenal success a journey with deep roots inthe language and culture of Kerouac s French Canadianchildhood. Edited and published with unprecedented access tothe Kerouac archives, The Unknown Kerouac presentstwo lost novels, The Night Is My Woman and Old Bullin the Bowery, which Kerouac wrote in French duringthe especially fruitful years of 1951 and 1952. Discoveredamong his papers in the mid-nineties, they havebeen translated into English for the first time by Jean-Christophe Cloutier, who incorporates Kerouac sown partial translations. Also included are two journals from the heart of thissame crucial period. In Private Philologies, Riddles, and a Ten-Day Writing Log, Kerouac recounts a briefstay in Denver where he works on an early version ofOn the Road, reads dime novels, and even rides in arodeo and shows him contemplating writers likeChaucer and Joyce and playing with riddles andetymologies. Journal 1951, begun during a stay in aBronx VA hospital, charts, in ecstatic, moving, andself-revealing pages, the wave of insights and breakthroughsthat led Kerouac to the most singular transformationof American prose style since Hemingway. This landmark volume is rounded out with thememoir Memory Babe, a poignant evocation of childhoodplay and reverie in a robust immigrant community, in which Kerouac uncannily retrieves and distillsthe subtlest sense impressions. And finally, in an interviewwith his longtime friend and fellow Beat JohnClellon Holmes and in the late fragment Beat SpotlightKerouac reflects on his meteoric career and unlookedfor celebrity.

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