Monday, August 6, 2018

Curation #105 from my Kerouac bookshelf: New Editions 2: An Anthology of Literary Discoveries (from 1957)

Item #105 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback undated (I think it came out in 1957) Paperback Editions Limited copy of New Editions 2: An Anthology of Literary Discoveries. 136 pages, it measures about 4-3/8" x 6" and is in rough shape (pages are coming out, page and cover corners are bent, both covers are stained). But, all the text is readable! The provenance is that I bought it on eBay.

This is one of the books that Jack Kerouac was reading from at the Village Vanguard in NYC in December 1957. You can see it in his hand in the picture below. Several other pictures exist and they have been posted in the Jack Kerouac Facebook Group (which faithful readers of The Daily Beat should join). You can also see them here.

The book contains Jack's piece, "Neal and the Three Stooges." My version contains a really obvious typo that someone fixed in pen. The rest of the book's contents can be seen below.

I couldn't be so lucky as to have stumbled on to the exact copy Jack held in his hands that night, as I am sure it is either in the Kerouac archives or long ago sold to a private collector for a pretty penny.  Nevertheless, this is a great item to have on my Kerouac bookshelf as it represents a piece of Kerouac history. According to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe:
Watching Jack read, Steve Allen thought it would be interesting to have a jazz musician spontaneously scoring lines as he read them; and Gilbert Millstein, who arranged the reading, offered Allen himself the job. (p. 565)

This led to the famous Jack Kerouac/Steve Allen recording still available today (Poetry for the Beat Generation, which we curated here). Bonus points if you know why else Gilbert Millstein was a critically important figure in the Kerouac story.

You won't find this on Amazon, but there is a copy in fine condition on eBay going for $125.

Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (top of the pile in front of the row) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Backpacker by Albert Saijo (very cool provenance backstory on this one).

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

No comments: