Jack Kerouac was a novelist who had broken all literary conventions and traditions. He was popularly known literary iconoclast and is placed beside literary stalwarts like William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Kerouac is also regarded as the pioneer of The Beat Generation which was a group of writers who became prominent during the post World War II in America. The Beat Generation of writers (of which Kerouac was a leading figure) inspired next generation writers like Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Tom Robbins, Will Clarke, Haruki Murakami. Kerouac wrote about topics that were close to the heart and often criticised of being way too sentimental. Kerouac boasted of writing in a wide spectrum of topics like Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He became very popular for his writing contributions and is considered as the creator of the Hippie movement in spite of his outright rejection of the movement. Kerouac was an outstanding achiever who did not see the light of a bright mature age writing future because of his untimely death at the age of 47 which resulted due to internal bleeding from alcohol abuse. Most of his books are available in the present times. Some of his notable books are ‘On the Road’, ‘Doctor Sax’, ‘The Dharma Bums’, ‘Mexico City Blues’, ‘The Subterraneans’, ‘Desolation Angels’, ‘Visions of Cody’ and ‘Big Sur’.
In 1942 Jack joined the United States Merchant Marine and in 1943 he joined the United States Navy. In 1944 Kerouac was arrested for being the material witness in the murder of David Kammerer. Some time later Jack started living with his parents in the Ozone Park neighbourhood of Queens after his parents arrived in New York. In and around 1949 (while staying with his parents) he wrote his first novel, ‘The Town and the City’ and also started writing his very famous novel, ‘On the Road’ (published in 1957). He earned a name of “The Wizard of Ozone Park” from his friends.
JACK KEROUAC TIMELINE
Jack Kerouac was born on 12 March
On 17 May Jack experienced his first Sacrament of Confession at the age of six. During his stay at a rosary (to practice penance) Jack imagined that he could hear God who told Jack had a good soul but he would have to suffer in his life and would die a pain and horror filled life
Jack joined the United States Merchant Marine
He joined the United States Navy
Kerouac was arrested for being the material witness in the murder of David Kammerer
In and around 1949 (while staying with his parents) he wrote his first novel, ‘The Town and the City’ and also started writing his very famous novel, ‘On the Road’
His novel ‘The Town and the City’ was published with the title “John Kerouac” which earned several readers and a name for him but the book did not sell well
He made many drafts and gave various titles like “The Beat Generation” and “Gone on the Road” for his novel “On the Road” which he completed writing in April
Jack was troubled by severe drug abuse in the late 1951
Jack found peace in taking up Buddhism after coming across Dwight Goddard's “A Buddhist Bible” at the San Jose Library
Kerouac wrote a biography of Siddhartha Gautama, “Wake Up”
“On the Road” finally got accepted after facing several rejections from publishers and being finally purchased by Viking Press
The publication house (Viking Press feared libel suits due to the sexually explicit passages and commentaries in the book) demanded too many revisions before the book was published
– In July Kerouac moved to a small house at 1418½ Clouser Avenue in the College Park section of Orlando, Florida, waiting for the release of “On the Road”
Kerouac wrote (somewhere around 26 November and 7 December 1957) about his experiences with Buddhism and also wrote on some of his adventures with Gary Snyder and other San Francisco-area poets, in The Dharma Bums, set in California and Washington which was published in 1958.
Kerouac wrote and narrated a “Beat” movie entitled “Pull My Daisy”
– In March Jack shifted to Northport, New York.
Jack appeared on the television show Firing Line
– On 20 October Jack was drinking alcohol when he felt sick and was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg and operated on
– He died on 21 October
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