The Portable Jack Kerouac

The Portable Jack Kerouac


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The definitive Kerouac collection-now in Penguin Classics

To coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of On the Road, Penguin Classics republishes this landmark collection. The Portable Jack Kerouac made clear the ambition and accomplishment of Kerouac's "Legend of Duluoz"-the story of his life told in his many "true story" novels. Featuring selections from Kerouac's autobiographical fiction, as well as from his poetry, criticism, Buddhist writings, and letters, The Portable Jack Kerouac offers a total immersion in an American master.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143105060
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 656
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the RoadThe Dharma BumsBig Sur, and Visions of Cody.

Ann Charters is the editor of The Portable Sixties Reader, The Portable Jack Kerouac, two volumes of Jack Kerouac's Selected Letters, and Beat Down to Your Soul. She teaches at the University of Connecticut.

Table of Contents

The Portable Jack KerouacPreface
Chronology of Jack Kerouac's Life
Kerouac's Introduction


Editor's Introduction

from Doctor Sax
"It was in Centralville I was born . . . across the wide basin to the hill—on Lupine Road, March 1922, at five o'clock . . ."

from Visions of Gerard
"For the first four years of my life, while he lived, I was not Ti Jean Duluoz, I was Gerard, the world was his face . . ."

"Home at Christmas"
"It's a Sunday afternoon in New England just three days before Christmas . . ."

from Dr. Sax
"Two o'clock—strange—thunder and the yellow walls of my mother's kitchen with the green electric clock . . ."

from Maggie Cassidy
"The Concord River flows be her house, in July evening the ladies of Massachusetts Street are sitting on wooden doorsteps with newspapers for fans . . ."

from Vanity of Duluoz
"What dreams you get when you think you're going to go to college . . ."

from On the Road
"With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road . . ."

"The Mexican Girl" (from On the Road)
"I had bought my ticket and was waiting for the L. A. bus . . ."

from On the Road
"It was drizzling and mysterious at the beginning of our journey . . ."

"Jazz of the Beat Generation"
"Out we jumped in the warm mad night hearing a wild tenorman's bawling horn . . ."

from "The Railroad Earth" (from Lonesome Traveler)
"There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons . . ."

from The Subterraneans
"I had never heard such a story from such a soul except from the great men I had known in my youth, great heroes of America . . ."

from Tristessa
"I'm riding along with Tristessa in the cab, drunk, with big bottle of Juarez Bourbon whiskey in the till-bag railroad lootbag . . ."

from The Dharma Bums
"Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 . . ."

from "Good Blonde"
" 'Damn,' said I, 'I'll just hitchhike on the highway' (101) seeing the fast flash of many cars . . ."

from The Dharma Bums
"In Berkeley I was living with Alvah Goldbrook in his little rose-covered cottage in the backyard of a bigger house on Milvia Street . . ."

from Desolation Angels
"It was on this trip that the great change took place in my life . . ."

from Big Sur
"The last time I ever hitch hiked—And NO RIDES a sign . . ."


Editor's Introduction

from San Francisco Blues
"Daydreams for Ginsberg"
"Rose Pome"
"Hymn" ("And when you showed me Brooklyn Bridge")
"Poem" ("I demand that the human race ceases multiplying")
"A Pun for Al Gelpi"
"Two Poems Dedicated to Thomas Merton"
"How to Meditate"
"Hitch Hiker"
"Pome on Doctor Sax"

from Book of Haikus: "Some Western Haikus"
"Sea: The Sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur"


Editor's Introduction

"Belief and Technique for Modern Prose"
"Essentials of Spontaneous Prose"
"The First Word: Jack Kerouac Takes a Fresh Look at Jack Kerouac"
"Are Writers Made or Born?"


Editor's Introduction

"In the Ring"
"On the Road to Florida"

from Visions of Cody
"The Three Stooges"
"Well, Cody is always interested in himself . . ."
"Joan Rawshanks in the Fog"

from Book of Dreams
from Old Angel Midnight


Editor's Introduction

"The Beginning of Bop"
"About the Beat Generation"
"Lamb, No Lion"
"Beatific: The Origins of the Beat Generation"
"After Me, the Deluge"


Editor's Introduction

"The Last Word: Because none of us want to think that the universe is a blank dream . . ."

from Book of Dreams
from The Scripture of the Golden Eternity


Editor's Introduction

To Norma Blickfelt, August 25, 1942
Young merchant seaman Kerouac describes his dream of becoming a writer

To Neal Cassady, May 22, 1951
Account to Neal about "my book about you" (On the Road)

To John Clellon Holmes, June 3, 1952
"Wild form's the only form holds what I have to say . . ."

To Allen Ginsberg, October 1, 1957
"Everything's been happening here" the week after publication of On the Road

To Allen Ginsberg, September 22, 1960
Description of West Coast trip later dramatized in Big Sur

To Sterling Lord, May 5, 1961
List of books comprising the Duluoz Legend

To Ann Charters, August 5, 1966
Invitation to visit him in Hyannis and work together on his bibliography: "I've kept the neatest records you ever saw"

Identity Key
Books by Jack Kerouac
List of Originally Published Sources

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Kerouac's work represents the most extensive experiment in language and literary form undertaken by an American writer of his generation."
-The New York Times Book Review

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