Jack Kerouac

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March 12, 1922 : Jack Kerouac is born

Introduction

Jack Kerouac is born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Kerouac was the son of French-Canadian parents and learned English as a second language. In high school, Kerouac was a star football player and won a scholarship to Columbia University.

In World War II, he served in the Navy but was expelled for severe personality problems that may have been symptoms of mental illness. He became a merchant seaman. In the late 1940s, he wandered the U.S. and Mexico and wrote his first novel, The Town and the City. It was not until 1957, when he published On the Road, an autobiographical tale of his wanderings, that he became famous as a seminal figure of the Beat Generation. His tale of a subculture of poets, folk singers, and eccentrics who smoked marijuana and rejected conformist society was written in just three weeks. The book is filled with other Beat figures, including Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.

Kerouac wrote five more books before his death in 1967 in St. Petersburg, Florida. However, none gained the mythic status of On the Road.

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March 12, 1922 : Jack Kerouac is born

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One thought on “Jack Kerouac

  1. On the Road was my favorite book at one time (My tastes have probably changed some as I’ve gotten older.) I first read it when I was sixteen, just at that age where real life starts to become a novelty, when you’re starting to put away your childhood and you’re ready to really engage with growing up. On the Road kind of set the terms of that engagement. It shaped the way I think about life to a big extent, and it shaped how I thought about writing and what I realized was possible through writing.

    Thank you for this post and reminding me of his birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

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