Item #85 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback St. Martin's Press 1994 edition (no printing number) of Ann Charters' Jack Kerouac A Biography. 416 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8" and is in fair condition. The provenance is that I bought it used from Goodwill of NNE via Amazon on August 25, 2012 for $.08. Yes, you read that correctly. Shipping was $3.99 so I paid a total of $4.07.
First published in 1973, Charters' book is recognized as the earliest comprehensive Kerouac biography. It met with a positive review from the NY Times (click here). This edition includes a foreword by Allen Ginsberg, a preface and an introduction by the author, a set of photos, and 5 appendices (chronology, notes and sources, bibliographical chronology, character identity key, and index).
Since Charters' biography there have been many more. Click here for Dave Moore's flickr set of Kerouac biography cover photos, which includes 27 titles (including Bernice Lemire's Master's Thesis).
Many have pointed out errors in Charters' work, but it still stands as a solid Kerouac biography and it paved the way for much Kerouac scholarship to come. It's a compelling read and deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf.
Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (4th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: another copy of Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters.
|Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf|