Wednesday, October 21, 2009

jack kerouac died forty years ago today :(

jack kerouac died 40 years ago today, on october 21, 1969. it was somehow fitting that his ugly death from the ravages of alcoholism came in october - his favorite month. i've been a fan jack kerouac for more than 3o of those years that he's been dead, "safe in heaven." ever since i first read "on the road" and "the dharma bums" back in high school, i've been hooked on keroauc, allen ginsberg, cassady, corso, and the beat generation.

kerouac died just after he published "vanity of dulouz" the last book he'd write, and the last chapter of the "duluoz" legend. while kerouac's work continued to appear posthumously (ginsberg was the major force behind publication of "visions of cody" - the "on the road" book previously considered unpublishable, but that jack viewed as his masterpiece), decades would pass before acadamia would finally acknowledge kerouac and his work.

i read the original scroll of "on the road" this summer (and viewed it on exhibit at the new york public library the previous year). i found the unabridged narrative more powerful than the fictionalize version it ultimately became when published! while kerouac alway hoped to assemble all of his autobiographical fiction in chronological order - his proustian "dulouz" life story, it never came to pass. it's as if his parting book title was the acknowledgement of the "vanity" of the entire enterprise.

so take time to read some of jack's work today!

and, have a listen to kerouac reading from "october in the railroad earth"


Deloney said...

Nice tribute. I always think of Jack in October.

rundangerously said...

thanks deloney. me too!

Anonymous said...

Yah, what a hero for white-bread Americans. An alcoholic, he was too irresponsible to ever acknowledge his paternity. Also, a bisexual/homosexual, he carefully avoided all such references in his writing. A shorty blurb:
"On February 16, 1952, Haverty gave birth to a daughter, Jan, whom Kerouac, consistent with his lifelong avoidance of responsibility, never acknowledged. He died in 1969, from complications of alcoholism.

Kerouac's misogynistic tendencies and Catholic guilt made lasting relationships with men and women impossible, as evidenced by his short-term marriages and his casual attitude toward his male lovers (among whom were Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Alan Ansen and Gore Vidal).

Kerouac's uneasiness toward his homosexuality led to his practice of omitting his own homosexual experiences from his books."

rundangerously said...

wow, anonymous - kerouac certainly got under your skin...

Blaise said...

Thanks for this post. This is an important anniversary and I haven't found an article about it on the net. Does JK possibly live on only in the heart of bloggers?

Gerald Hill said...

He lives on in my heart, at least. I visited the gravesite today. Details at

Best wishes.

Gerry Hill

savage henry said...

Big Jack rolls on. Like the asphalt he loved to travel, his road is open to every new explorer and all the old converts.
"Time is the purest and cheapest form of doom." -'Visions of Cody'