From relative obscurity, even at the time of his death in 1969, Jack Kerouac has risen to icon status with invigorated interest at all levels of scholarship and readership. This biography serves an important purpose in cutting through both the hagiography and the critical backlash that still surrounds the figure most closely identified with the Beat movement. Using the same structure―the events of his life― that Kerouac himself utilized in writing his roman a clef novels such as On the Road, this biography provides an accessible alternative to current studies that will help readers, particularly students understand the creative legacy left by Kerouac. Readers will be able to draw their own insights and conclusions from this well drawn account that traces the historical and personal events that moved his career along uncharted paths. Sixteen chapters piece together his troubled ties with family, friends, lovers, and the literary establishment. This study carefully examines the philosophy of the writer and the psychology of the man with his many contradictions and complexities.
Interest in Kerouac's life has never been stronger. This concise biography draws on both new and established research on Kerouac to lay out the facts and distinguish the man from the myth. A Timeline of Events will help readers understand the important occurrences in Kerouac's life, his travels, his writings, involvement in the Beat movement, and the larger context of literary and political events of his time. A complete bibliography of works by Kerouac includes important posthumous publications. A select bibliography of biographical and critical works, including electronic sources, will guide readers with further personal interests or research projects on Kerouac.
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This critical biography provides a roadmap to the personal journeys that marked the life and works of American icon Jack Kerouac.About the Author:
MICHAEL J. DITTMAN teaches English at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He has published poetry and has contributed critical articles for Contemporary American Women Poets (Greenwood, 2001) and American Literature Archive.
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