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Browse audiobooks by Jack Kerouac, listen to samples and when you're ready head over to Audiobooks.com where you can get 3 FREE audiobooks on us
1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac. In March, his close friend and literary confidante, Sebastian Sampas, lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic. That spring—still reeling with grief over Sebastian—Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg. That August, Carr stabbed his longtime acquaintance and mentor David Kammerer to death in Riverside Park, claiming afterwards that he had been defending his manhood against Kammerer’s persistent and unwanted advances. Kerouac was originally charged in Kammerer’s killing as an accessory after the fact as a result of his aiding Carr in disposing of the murder weapon and Kammerer’s eyeglasses. Consequently, Kerouac was jailed in August 1944 and married his first wife, Edie Parker, on the twenty-second of that month in order to secure the money he needed for his bail bond. Eventually the authorities accepted Carr’s account of the killing, trying him instead for manslaughter and thus nullifying the charges against Kerouac. At some point late in the year—under circumstances that remain rather mysterious—the aspiring writer lost a novella-length manuscript titled The Haunted Life, a coming-of-age story set in Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. Peter Martin is heading into his sophomore year at Boston College, and while home for the summer in Galloway he struggles with the pressing issues of his day—the economic crisis of the previous decade and what appears to be the impending entrance of the United States into the Second World War. The other principal characters, Garabed Tourian and Dick Sheffield, are based respectively on Sebastian Sampas and fellow Lowellian Billy Chandler. Garabed is a leftist idealist and poet. Dick is a romantic adventurer whose wanderlust has him poised to leave Galloway for the wider world. The Haunted Life also contains a compelling and controversial portrayal of Jack’s father, Leo Kerouac, recast as Joe Martin. Joe is a right-wing and bigoted populist, and an ardent admirer of radio personality Father Charles Coughlin. The conflicts of the novella are primarily intellectual, then, as Peter finds himself suspended between the differing views of history, politics, and the world embodied by the other three characters, and struggles to define what he believes to be intellectually true and worthy of his life and talents. The Haunted Life is rounded out by sketches, notes, and reflections Kerouac kept during the novella’s composition, as well as a revealing selection of correspondence with his father, Leo Kerouac.Show more
In the spring of 1943, during a stint in the merchant marine, twenty-one-year-old Jack Kerouac set out to write his first novel. Working diligently day and night to complete it by hand, he titled it The Sea Is My Brother. Nearly seventy years later, its long-awaited publication provides fascinating details and insight into the early life and development of an American literary icon. Written seven years before The Town and the City officially launched his writing career, The Sea Is My Brother marks the pivotal point at which Kerouac began laying the foundations for his pioneering method and signature style. The novel chronicles the misadventures of two seamen who at first seem different but are really two sides of the same coin: twenty-seven-year-old Wesley Martin, who "loved the sea with a strange, lonely love," and William Everhart, an assistant professor of English at Columbia College who, at thirty-two, impulsively ships out, hoping to "escape society for the sea, but finds the sea a place of terrible loneliness." A clear precursor to such landmark novels as On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and Visions of Cody, it is an important formative work that bears all the hallmarks of classic Kerouac: the search for spiritual meaning in a materialistic world, spontaneous travel as the true road to freedom, late nights of intense conversation in bars and apartments, the desperate urge to escape from society, and the strange, terrible beauty of loneliness. Introduction by Dawn Ward "Published for the first time, the novel betrays the faults of inexperience...But these are outweighed by its virtues-the vitality of its dialogue, the freshness and power of its descriptions, whether of cheap saloons, cramped cabins, or sunrise at sea, a social concern rarely found in American fiction since Dos Passos."-Daily Mail (London)Show more
More than sixty years ago, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, two novice writers at the dawn of their careers, sat down to write a novel about the summer of 1944, when one of their friends killed another in a moment of brutal and tragic bloodshed. Alternating chapters, they pieced together a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and obsession, art and violence. The manuscript, named after a line from a news story about a fire at a circus, was rejected by publishers and confined to a filing cabinet for decades. Now, for the first time, this legendary collaboration between two of the twentieth century's most influential writers is being released. Both a fascinating piece of American literary history and an engrossing, atmospheric novel, it brings to life a shocking murder at the dawn of the Beat Generation.Show more
In the mid-1950s, Jack Kerouac, a lifelong Catholic, became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that had a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality andlater found expression in books such as Mexico City Blues and The Dharma Bums. Originally written in 1955 and now published for the first time in audiobook form, Wake Up is Kerouac's retelling of the life of Prince Siddartha Gotama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong searchfor Enlightenment. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a penetrating account of the Buddha's life and a concise primer on the principal teachings of Buddhism.Show more
The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published as Kerouac originally composed it IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic—rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.Show more
Coming down from his carefree youth and unwanted fame, Jack Kerouac undertakes a mature confrontation of some of his most troubling emotional issues: a burgeoning problem with alcoholism, addiction, fear, and insecurity. He dutifully records his ever-changing states of consciousness, which culminate in a powerful religious experience. Big Sur was written some time after Jack Kerouac's best-known works, following a visit to northern California and the first feelings of midlife crisis. Kerouac stayed for several weeks in a cabin in Big Sur, California, and with friends in San Francisco. Upon returning home, he wrote this account in a two-week period. Critic Richard Meltzer referred to Big Sur as Kerouac's "masterpiece, and one of the great, great works of the English language." Critic Richard Meltzer referred to Big Sur as Kerouac's "masterpiece, and one of the great, great works of the English language."Show more
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