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  • Published: 14 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9781598534986
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 504
  • RRP: $59.99

The Unknown Kerouac



A major literary event: a stunning collection of long lost, never-before-published, and newly translated writings by the legendary author of On the Road.

A remarkable gathering of previously unpublished writings which reveals the extraordinary literary journey that led to Kerouac’s success—a journey with deep roots in the language and culture of his French Canadian childhood

Edited and published with unprecedented access to the Kerouac archives, The Unknown Kerouac presents two lost novels, The Night Is My Woman and Old Bull in the Bowery, which Kerouac wrote in French during the especially fruitful years of 1951 and 1952. Discovered among his papers in the mid-nineties, they have been translated into English for the first time by Jean-Christophe Cloutier, who incorporates Kerouac’s own partial translations.

Also included are two journals from the heart of this same crucial period. In Private Philologies, Riddles, and a Ten-Day Writing Log, Kerouac recounts a brief stay in Denver—where he works on an early version of On the Road, reads dime novels, and even rides in a rodeo—and shows him contemplating writers like Chaucer and Joyce and playing with riddles and etymologies. Journal 1951, begun during a stay in a Bronx VA hospital, charts, in ecstatic, moving, and self-revealing pages, the wave of insights and breakthroughs that led Kerouac to the most singular transformation of American prose style since Hemingway.

This landmark volume is rounded out with the memoir Memory Babe, a poignant evocation of childhood play and reverie in a robust immigrant community, in which Kerouac uncannily retrieves and distills the subtlest sense impressions. And finally, in an interview with his longtime friend and fellow Beat John Clellon Holmes and in the late fragment Beat Spotlight Kerouac reflects on his meteoric career and unlooked for celebrity.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

  • Published: 14 November 2016
  • ISBN: 9781598534986
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 504
  • RRP: $59.99

About the author

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922. In 1947, enthused by bebop, the rebel attitude of his friend Neal Cassidy, and the throng of hobos, drug addicts and hustlers he encountered in New York, he decided to discover America and hitchhhike across the country. His writing was openly autobiographical and he developed a style he referred to as 'spontaneous prose' which he used to record the experiences of the Beat Generation. Among his many novels are On the Road, Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He died in 1969.

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