Monday, April 2, 2018

Curation #24 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: On the Road: Text and Criticism, edited by Scott Donaldson

Item #24 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is a copy of Jack Kerouac: On the Road: Text and Criticism, edited by Scott Donaldson. This is a Penguin Books edition with a copyright date of 1979 (again, only God knows when this particular copy was printed). The provenance is likely that I bought it used from Amazon. If you want a copy, I have placed a link below.

This is one of those books that is not a straight-through read. I've admittedly read only bits and pieces, some in other sources. The book starts with an introduction by the editor and a chronology of Kerouac's life. Then it presents the classic text of On The Road. Next, some essays on the Beat Generation, including John Tytell's "The Broken Circuit," Norman Podhoretz's "The Know-Nothing Bohemians," Kerouac's "The Origins of the Beat Generation," and John Clellon Holmes' "The Philosophy of the Beat Generation."

The next section is titled, "Critical Commentary," and includes 9 essays ranging from Arnold Krupat's "Dean Moriarty as Saintly Hero" to Granville H. Jones' "Jack Kerouac and the American Conscience." Then one finds a section titled, "Kerouac and His Art," comprising 4 more pieces including Kerouac's "Essentials of Modern Prose" and Ted Berrigan's "The Art of Fiction XVI: Jack Kerouac" (the famous interview by Berrigan and two poet friends -- Adam Saroyan and Duncan McNaughton -- with Kerouac that included some input from his wife, Stella). The final section is titled, "Kerouac Himself," and consists of one essay by Holmes: "The Great Rememberer." The book concludes with "Topics for Discussion and Papers" and a selected bibliography.

This is a worthwhile book to own if you are a Kerouac scholar or obsessed fan. For casual Kerouac readers, it likely gets too far into the weeds.

Below is a picture of Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (5th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: another copy of On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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