|Jack Kerouac (L) and Lucien Carr at Columbia University
Regular readers of The Daily Beat are familiar with Lucien Carr, one of the core members of the inner circle of the New York Beat Generation in the 40s. Carr died on this date -- January 28 -- in 2005 at the age of 79. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: Damion in On The Road; Sam Vedder in The Subterraneans and Book of Dreams (expanded edition); Julien in Big Sur; Julien Love in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; Claude De Maubris in Vanity of Duluoz; Claude in Orpheus Emerged; Kenneth Wood in The Town and the City; Kenneth in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Phillip Tourian in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.
Infamous for his role in the David Kammerer affair (whose murder by Carr led to Kerouac's first marriage when he promised to marry Edie Parker for bail money from her parents -- more on that HERE), Carr really needs to be recognized for his role in the original Beat Generation circle; indeed, he has been described by Allen Ginsberg as the glue that held the group together. Carr was at the center of many formative intellectual and literary conversations held among the early Beats.
Speaking of friendships, here's a picture from September 2015 of my great friend Richard Marsh and me recreating the Kerouac-Carr picture. Note who got to play each role.
|Richard Marsh (L) and Rick Dale at Columbia University
Here's an excerpt about Carr as Damion from On The Road. I would point out that Kerouac calls him the hero of Kerouac's New York gang, just as Dean (Neal Cassady) was the hero of his Western gang. It's important that Kerouac equates Carr with Cassady, thus confirming Carr's significance to the Beat Generation.
The parties were enormous; there were at least a hundred people at a basement apartment in the West Nineties. People overflowed into the cellar compartments near the furnace. Something was going on in every corner, on every bed and couch-not an orgy but just a New Year's party with frantic screaming and wild radio music. There was even a Chinese girl. Dean ran like Groucho Marx from group to group, digging everybody. Periodically we rushed out to the car to pick up more people. Damion came. Damion is the hero of my New York gang, as Dean is the chief hero of the Western. They immediately took a dislike to each other. Damion's girl suddenly socked Damion on the jaw with a roundhouse right. He stood reeling. She carried him home. (Penguin Books, 1976, p. 126)