Saturday, July 14, 2018

Curation #84 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: A Biography by Tom Clark

Item #84 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Thunder's Mouth Press 1990 edition (no printing number) of Tom Clark's Jack Kerouac: A Biography. It's 254 pages, measures about 6" x 9", and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I bought it for $1.09 via Amazon from HPB-Outlet in July 2012 (for once I kept the packing slip with the book).

This book, first published in 1984, includes a Kerouac chronology, an introduction by Carolyn Cassady, a bibliography, an index, and quite a few photos (many are quite grainy).The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "the only book about Kerouac worth reading" (cover blurb). Jacob Lititz, in a review of the book in Western American Literature in 1986, said:
Tom Clark's biography of Kerouac is pure biography. It isn't a thesis about Kerouac's life, his times, or his works. Clark goes directly to his job of giving a short, coherent, vivid picture of the life of Jack Kerouac.
Clark wrote this, of course, with several published biographies to reference, the most prominent being Charters' and McNally's, which he cites. Interestingly, he does not cite Nicosia's, but that may be because of timing (Memory Babe came out the year before).

It may be a function of my failing memory and not Clark's fault, but I read this book one time and so long ago (6 years) that I have no unique memories or opinions about it. I guess given the reviews above I should put it on my bucket list of books to re-read.

Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (3rd from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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