Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Curation #87 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD by Edward Renehan

Item #87 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 2012 New Street Communications edition (no printing number) of Edward Renehan's Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD. 63 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is likely that I bought it via Amazon.

I purchased this book when I was teaching On The Road in my first year seminar at the University of Maine at Farmington, thinking I would get some new insights to share with students. There are points with which I strongly agree. For example, regarding On The Road:
Notably, just about every review, whether positive or negative, failed to acknowledge Kerouac's vision of the work as the narrative of a journey toward spiritual enlightenment: a holy pilgrimage by flawed mortals seeking some semblance of Truth. (p. 51)
On The Road is a spiritual book, yet many miss that. This is something I learned from Gerry Nicosia, and that has been reinforced since by others including Renehan.

There are other points in the book that were new to me. For example, Oswald Spengler's notion of "second religiousness." I may have read about that somewhere else, but it stuck out to me in Renehan's treatise (perhaps because it is a chapter title). To wit, the book includes the following chapters/sections:

Second Religousness

This book could use some serious editing, but a theme (spirituality) does come through and Kerouac fans would likely enjoy this quick read.

Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affir in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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