Jack Kerouac American Literature Analysis
The power of Kerouac’s writing comes from two distinct sources. The one that has been recognized by most commentators was Kerouac’s extremely incisive, essentially instinctive ability to register the first crest of a wave of cultural change that was about to break over the American continent. The other, less accepted source is the solid background in literature that Kerouac brought to his earliest work. The story of how Kerouac typed, at about a hundred words a minute, the entire manuscript of On the Road onto a huge roll of paper in twenty days is well known, but during the time that the book remained in manuscript form, Kerouac revised it with care and diligence, even becoming close friends with Robert Giroux. Kerouac recalled that long before he began work on The Town and the City, his first book (which covered his early life in Lowell), at theage of 11 I wrote whole little novels in nickel notebooks. . . . The first serious writing took place after I read about Jack London at the age of 17. . . . At 18 I read Hemingway and Saroyan. . . . Then I read Tom Wolfe. . . . Then I read Joyce. . . . Then came Dostoevsky. Finally I entered a romantic phase with Rimbaud and Blake. . . . At the age of 24 I was groomed for the Western idealistic concept of letters from reading Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit.
The leap of genius that Kerouac made was to join his substantial, primarily self-directed education with a sense of several...
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