Monday, July 23, 2018

Curation #91 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: An Introduction by Brad Parker

Item #91 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1990 copy of Brad Parker's Jack Kerouac: An Introduction. 112 pages, it measures about 5" x 8" and is in good condition. Its provenance is lost in memory.

This Kerouac biography by Lowell native Brad Parker was published by The Lowell Corporation for the Humanities, Inc. and was first printed for the twentieth anniversary of Kerouac's death in October 1989. It includes an introduction by Parker followed by 6 chapters:

Chapter I:     The Gerard Legacy (1922-1926)
Chapter II:    Sax, Sex, and Lowell (1932-1939)
Chapter III:   A Crucial Decade (1939-1949)
Chapter IV:   The Road and the Success (1947-1959)
Chapter V:     Big Sur and Beyond (1960-1969)
Chapter VI:   Wild Man?--Wild Prose? (

These are followed by 4 appendices: a selective chronology, prose samples, endnotes, and a guide (with map) to Kerouac sites in Lowell (including how to find Jack's grave). In addition to the text there are several pictures and also 5 fantastic illustrations by Allen Mudgett.

Brad is a friend of mine, so anything I say about his book is inherently biased. I will go out on a limb and say that if you are looking for a readable, concise biography of Jack Kerouac it would be hard to find a better choice. Copies are still available from Amazon (see link below) and Brad is active in the Jack Kerouac Facebook group so you could contact him directly there if you want a signed copy (I don't know if he has any left).

Here is Brad's concluding paragraph, one with whose sentiments I heartily agree.
There is a bonding between Kerouac and many of his readers that, eluding exact explanation, can be called love. They sense, within the pages of his novels, someone who they believe understands both them and their attempts to truly live. The "vast exploration of subjectivity" which was Kerouac's true province touches upon their own inner worlds, and they believe that Jack cares about them. In return, they give back the same.

Reminder to self: Get Brad to sign this copy next time you see him.

Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (11th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 edited by Douglas Brinkley.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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