New Release Books by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac is the author of Visions of Gerard (2020), The Poetry of Jack Kerouac (2017), The Unknown Kerouac (2016), Desolation Angels (2020) and other 341 books.

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Visions of Gerard

release date: Aug 20, 2020
Visions of Gerard
'The piteousness of his little soft shroud of hair falling down his brow and swept aside by the hand over blue serious eyes' Described by Kerouac as 'my most serious sad and true book', Visions of Gerard forms the first volume of his memoir cycle the 'Duluoz Legend'. Based on Jack Kerouac's memories of the beloved older brother who died when he was a boy, it is unique among his novels for its dreamlike evocation of the sensations of childhood - its wisdom, anguish, intensity, innocence, joy and pain. It is a haunting exploration of the precariousness of existence. 'Called a "pain-tale" by Kerouac, it's the story of an almost divine, Buddha-like child wracked with sickness and suffering' Guardian

The Poetry of Jack Kerouac

release date: Jul 11, 2017
The Poetry of Jack Kerouac
From the iconic New York Times–bestselling author of On the Road: Three revolutionary collections of poetry in one volume. Rebelling against the dry rules and literary pretentiousness he perceived in early twentieth-century poetry, Jack Kerouac pioneered a poetic style informed by oral tradition and driven by concrete language with neither embellishment nor abstraction. In these three groundbreaking collections, the legendary Beat writer offers a spontaneous, uncensored perspective on everything from religion to the structure of language itself. Scattered Poems: Bringing together selections from literary journals and his private notebooks, Scattered Poems exemplifies Kerouac’s innovative approach to language. Populated by hitchhikers, Chinese grocers, Buddhist saints, and cultural figures from Rimbaud to Harpo Marx, the poems evoke the primal and the sublime, the everyday and the metaphysical. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity: During an unexplained fainting spell, Kerouac experienced a flash of enlightenment. A student of Buddhist philosophy, he recognized the experience as “satori,” a moment of life-changing epiphany. The knowledge he gained in that instant is expressed in this volume of sixty-six prose poems with language that is both precise and cryptic, mystical and plain. His vision proclaims, “There are not two of us here, reader and writer, but one golden eternity.” Old Angel Midnight: A spontaneous writing project in the form of an extended prose poem, this sonorous and spiritually playful book is one of Kerouac’s most boldly experimental works. Collected from five notebooks dating from 1956 to 1959—a time in which Kerouac was immersed in Buddhist theory—Old Angel Midnight captures the rhythms of the universe and secrets of the subconscious with stunning linguistic dexterity.

The Unknown Kerouac

release date: Oct 11, 2016
The Unknown Kerouac
In On the Road and other iconic works, Jack Kerouac created a quintessentially American voice and a revolutionary prose style. This remarkable gathering of previously unpublished writings reveals as never before the extraordinary literary journey that led to his phenomenal success—a journey with deep roots in the language and culture of Kerouac’s French Canadian childhood. Edited and published with unprecedented access to the Kerouac archives, The Unknown Kerouac presents two lost novels, The Night Is My Woman and Old Bull in the Bowery, which Kerouac wrote in French during the especially fruitful years of 1951 and 1952. Discovered among his papers in the mid-nineties, they have been translated into English for the first time by Jean-Christophe Cloutier, who incorporates Kerouac’s own partial translations. Also included are two journals from the heart of this same crucial period. In Private Philologies, Riddles, and a Ten-Day Writing Log, Kerouac recounts a brief stay in Denver—where he works on an early version of On the Road, reads dime novels, and even rides in a rodeo—and shows him contemplating writers like Chaucer and Joyce and playing with riddles and etymologies. Journal 1951, begun during a stay in a Bronx VA hospital, charts, in ecstatic, moving, and self-revealing pages, the wave of insights and breakthroughs that led Kerouac to the most singular transformation of American prose style since Hemingway. This landmark volume is rounded out with the memoir Memory Babe, a poignant evocation of childhood play and reverie in a robust immigrant community, in which Kerouac uncannily retrieves and distills the subtlest sense impressions. And finally, in an interview with his longtime friend and fellow Beat John Clellon Holmes and in the late fragment Beat Spotlight Kerouac reflects on his meteoric career and unlooked for celebrity.

Desolation Angels

release date: May 05, 2020
Desolation Angels
Desolation Angels is the wild and soulful autobiographical story that covers a key year in Jack Kerouac’s life—the year of the legendary road trip that led up to the publication of On the Road in 1957. Told through the persona of Jack Duluoz, who is accompanied by Kerouac’s thinly disguised Beat cohorts Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William Burroughs, Desolation Angels chronicles their move from isolated mountains to travels across the world. From the bars and jazz clubs of San Francisco to Mexico City, New York, Paris, London, and the opium-ridden Tangiers, Kerouac tells of their poetry, parties, mountain vigils, and spiritual contemplation in classic Kerouac fashion: with unsurpassable energy and humanity. Penguin Random House Canada is proud to bring you classic works of literature in e-book form, with the highest quality production values. Find more today and rediscover books you never knew you loved.

Good Blonde & Others

release date: Mar 22, 2016
Good Blonde & Others
Beat Generation great Jack Kerouac traverses the vast landscape of American counterculture in this raucous and insightful collection In these collected articles, essays, and wild autobiographical tales, Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, leads readers down the highways and through the myriad subcultures of mid-twentieth-century America, guiding them along with his ingenious observations and brilliant command of language. He cruises to San Francisco high on Benzedrine with a barefoot blond model in a white bathing suit; traipses from New York to Florida with photographer Robert Frank and a $300 German camera; takes a bus ride along the edge of a precipice in Montana; and revels in the swampy blues of an old Southern bum at a Des Moines diner. On a journey of the mind, Kerouac courses through the philosophy, origins, and dreams of the Beats, those “crazy illuminated hipsters” of post-war America; describes his theory of experimental prose with the “Essentials of Spontaneous Writing”; and gives a tour of the San Francisco Renaissance, pointing out the new American poets who are “childlike graybeard Homers singing on the street.” This sweeping portrait of the art, sounds, and people of a nation in transition could only be told with Kerouac’s inimitable wisdom and charm.

Scattered Poems

release date: Mar 22, 2016
Scattered Poems
Just as he upended the conventions of the novel with On the Road, Jack Kerouac revolutionized American poetry in this ingenious collection Bringing together selections from literary journals and his private notebooks, Jack Kerouac’s Scattered Poems exemplifies the Beat Generation icon’s innovative approach to language. Kerouac’s poems, populated by hitchhikers, Chinese grocers, Buddhist saints, and cultural figures from Rimbaud to Harpo Marx, evoke the primal and the sublime, the everyday and the metaphysical. Scattered Poems, which includes the playfully instructive “How to Meditate,” the sensory “San Francisco Blues,” and an ode to Kerouac’s fellow Beat Allen Ginsberg, is rich in striking images and strident urgency. Kerouac’s widespread influences feel new and fresh in these poems, which echo the rhythm of improvisational jazz music, and the centuries-old structure of Japanese haiku. In rebelling against the dry rules and literary pretentiousness he perceived in early twentieth-century poetry, Kerouac pioneered a poetic style informed by oral tradition, driven by concrete language with neither embellishment nor abstraction, and expressed through spontaneous, uncensored writing.

The Town and the City

release date: Mar 22, 2016
The Town and the City
A quintessential American family is pulled apart by war and the rapidly changing tides of society in Jack Kerouac’s captivating first novel Published seven years before his iconic On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s debut novel follows the experiences of one family as they navigate the seismic cultural shifts following World War II. Inspired by Kerouac’s own New England youth, the eight Martin children enjoy an idyllic upbringing in a small Massachusetts mill-town. Middle son Peter, a budding intellectual and promising athlete, most strongly feels the lure of the future. When war breaks out, the siblings’ lives are interrupted by military service; their parents must sell their house after the family business goes bankrupt; and Peter, eager to see the world, voyages overseas as a Merchant Marine. After returning home, Peter is drawn to the kinetic energy of New York City and the progressive, bohemian ideas springing from its denizen young poets, writers, and artists. His new friends are fictionalized versions of Kerouac’s contemporaries: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), and William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), and other members of the Beat Generation. Seen by Peter’s parents as hoodlums and junkies, the Beats challenge conventional American ideas of everything from authority and religion to marriage and domestic life.

The Scripture of the Golden Eternity

release date: Mar 22, 2016
The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
Poetic meditations on joy, consciousness, and becoming one with the infinite universe from the author of On the Road During an unexplained fainting spell, Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac experienced a flash of enlightenment. A student of Buddhist philosophy, Kerouac recognized the experience as “satori,” a moment of life-changing epiphany. The knowledge he gained in that instant is expressed in this volume of sixty-six prose poems with language that is both precise and cryptic, mystical and plain. His vision proclaims, “There are not two of us here, reader and writer, but one golden eternity.” Within these meditations, haikus, and Zen koans is a contemplation of consciousness and impermanence. While heavily influenced by the form of Buddhist poems or sutras, Kerouac also draws inspiration from a variety of religious traditions, including Taoism, Native American spirituality, and the Catholicism of his youth. Far-reaching and inclusive, this collection reveals the breadth of Kerouac’s poetic sensibility and the curiosity, word play, and fierce desire to understand the nature of existence that make up the foundational concepts of Beat poetry and propel all of Kerouac’s writing.

Old Angel Midnight

release date: Mar 22, 2016
Old Angel Midnight
A sensory narrative poem capturing the rhythms of the universe and secrets of the subconscious with stunning linguistic dexterity from the author of On the Road A spontaneous writing project in the form of an extended prose poem, this sonorous and spiritually playful book is one of Jack Kerouac’s most boldly experimental works. Collected from five notebooks dating from 1956 to 1959—a time in which Kerouac was immersed in Buddhist theory—Old Angel Midnight is comprised of sixty-seven short sections unified by an unwavering dedication to sounds, the subconscious, and verbal ingenuity. Friday Afternoon in the Universe, in all directions in & out you got your men women dogs children horses pones tics perts parts pans pools palls pails parturiences and petty Thieveries that turn into heavenly Buddha. Thus begins Kerouac’s Joycean language dance. From birdsong to dharmic verse, street jargon to French slang, the resonances of the universe come blaring in though the windows, unfurling their meaning as the mind lets go and listens.

The Haunted Life

release date: Mar 11, 2014
The Haunted Life
1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac. In March, his close friend and literary confidant, 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, offsetting the loss of Sampas by immersing himself in New York's blossoming mid-century bohemia. That August, however, 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'a 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 later 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. Kerouac set his fictional treatment of Peter Martin against the backdrop of the everyday: the comings and goings of the shopping district, the banter and braggadocio that occurs within the smoky atmospherics of the corner bar, the drowsy sound of a baseball game over the radio. Peter 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, both of whom had already died in combat by the time of Kerouac's drafting of The Haunted Life (providing some of the impetus for its title). Garabed is a leftist idealist and poet, with a pronounced tinge of the Byronic. Dick is a romantic adventurer whose wanderlust has him poised to leave Galloway for the wider world -- with or without Peter. The Haunted Life also contains a compelling and controversial portrayal of Jack's father, Leo Kerouac, recast as Joe Martin. Opposite of Garabed's progressive, New Deal persepctive, 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, skillfully edited by University of Massachusetts at Lowell Assistant Professor of English Todd F. Tietchen, 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.

The Dharma Bums

release date: Jan 28, 2020
The Dharma Bums
A story of the quest for truth, The Dharma Bums is one of Jack Kerouac’s most powerful and influential novels. Two ebullient young men search for Dharma the Zen way, heading off to the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude. But in wildly Bohemian San Francisco, with its marathon drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and “yabyum” experiments, they find the ascetic route hard to follow. Full of brilliant descriptions of nature, a cast of refreshingly naïve and sophisticated characters, and the classic wit and philosophy of Kerouac, The Dharma Bums is a heroic odyssey for the Beat generation. Penguin Random House Canada is proud to bring you classic works of literature in e-book form, with the highest quality production values. Find more today and rediscover books you never knew you loved.

The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383

release date: Sep 22, 2013
The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383
In 1954, Jack Kerouac announced that he was writing the world’s first Beat Science Fiction novel; what resulted the following year was actually a short story of around 10,000 words entitled cityCityCITY, a futurist dystopian tale of a mega-city plated in superconducting steel, whose inhabitants are housed in “Zone Blocks” which double, when necessary, as electrified mass-execution chambers. Kerouac apparently sent this blueprint to William S. Burroughs with a request to collaborate on a full-length version, but Burroughs declined. Thus the story languished in limbo, until a new version of it, entitled “The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383”, was published in 1959 (in Nugget magazine). This special ebook edition of “The Electrocution Of Block 38383939383” as it was originally published, restores to prominence one of the most intriguing literary experiments of Kerouac’s oeuvre, and of the Beat Generation as a whole.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

release date: Apr 04, 2013
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs were charged as accessories to murder. One of their friends, Lucien Carr, had stabbed another, David Kammerrer. Carr had come to each of them and confessed; Kerouac helped him get rid of the weapon - neither told the police. For this failing they were arrested. Months later, the two writers - unpublished at the time - collaborated on And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, a fictionalized account of the summer of the killing.

Book of Haikus

release date: Apr 01, 2013
Book of Haikus
Highlighting a lesser-known aspect of one of America's most influential authors, this new collection displays Jack Kerouac's interest in and mastery of haiku. Experimenting with this compact poetic genre throughout his career, Kerouac often included haiku in novels, correspondence, notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, and recordings. In this collection, Kerouac scholar Regina Weinreich supplements an incomplete draft of a haiku manuscript found in Kerouac's archives with a generous selection of Kerouac's other haiku, from both published and unpublished sources. With more than 500 poems, this is a must-have volume for Kerouac enthusiasts everywhere.

The Subterraneans

release date: Jan 28, 2020
The Subterraneans
Written in just three days, The Subterraneans is the story of Leo Percepied, an aspiring writer and self-styled freewheeling bum who gravitates to the Subterraneans—impoverished intellectuals who haunt the bars and clubs of San Francisco, surviving on booze, Benzedrine, Proust, and Verlaine. Centering on the tempestuous and destructive relationship between Leo and Mardou Fox, a denizen of the San Francisco underground, The Subterraneans is an exuberant and melancholy tale of dark alleys and rooms and of artists and visionaries. Penguin Random House Canada is proud to bring you classic works of literature in e-book form, with the highest quality production values. Find more today and rediscover books you never knew you loved.

Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg

release date: Jul 08, 2010
Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
The first collection of letters between the two leading figures of the Beat movement Writers and cultural icons Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg are the most celebrated names of the Beat Generation, linked together not only by their shared artistic sensibility but also by a deep and abiding friend­ship, one that colored their lives and greatly influenced their writing. Editors Bill Morgan and David Stanford shed new light on this intimate and influential friendship in this fascinating exchange of letters between Kerouac and Ginsberg, two thirds of which have never been published before. Commencing in 1944 while Ginsberg was a student at Columbia University and continuing until shortly before Kerouac's death in 1969, the two hundred letters included in this book provide astonishing insight into their lives and their writing. While not always in agreement, Ginsberg and Kerouac inspired each other spiritually and creatively, and their letters became a vital workshop for their art. Vivid, engaging, and enthralling, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters provides an unparalleled portrait of the two men who led the cultural and artistic movement that defined their generation.

Pic

release date: Jul 04, 2019
Pic
Kerouac's last published novel, Pic is an endearing portrait of a road trip across America, seen through the eyes of one innocent, adventurous boy. 'Pic', or Pictorial Review Jackson, is a ten-year-old boy from North Carolina. When his grandfather dies and he is sent to live with another relative, his older brother, Slim, comes to rescue him. Together they hitch to New York City and, eventually, all the way to California, encountering hardship, kindness, music, love and danger as they go.

Tristessa

release date: Jul 04, 2019
Tristessa
'She understands Karma, she says: "What I do, I reap"' Her name means sadness, yet Tristessa, a prostitute and morphine addict, lives without cares in her shabby room with a menagerie of pets and an altar to the Virgin Mary. Based on Jack Kerouac's own real-life love affair in Mexico city, this is the story of a man's ill-fated relationship with a woman he portrays with tenderness and dignity, even as her life spirals out of control. 'A narrative meditation studying a hen, a rooster, a dove, a cat, a chihuaha dog, family meat, and a ravishing, ravished junky lady, first in their crowded bedroom, then out to drunken streets, taco stands, and pads at dawn in Mexico City slums' Allen Ginsberg

Mexico City Blues

release date: Jul 04, 2019
Mexico City Blues
'I want to be considered a jazz poet blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam session on Sunday' Freewheeling and spontaneous, Mexico City Blues is Jack Kerouac's most significant and emblematic poem. Consisting of 242 loosely linked 'choruses', it takes in life, death, spirituality, jazz improvisation, memory, fantasies and dreams, all infused with the rhythm of the blues, to create a surreal and all-encompassing epic. 'A spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature' Allen Ginsberg 'A jazz poet. His sentences frequently move into tempestuous sweeps and whorls and sometimes they have something of the rich music of Gerard Manley Hopkins or Dylan Thomas' The New York Herald Tribune

Satori in Paris and Pic

release date: Dec 01, 2007
Satori in Paris and Pic
Satori in Paris and Pic, two of Jack Kerouac's last novels, showcase the remarkable range and versatility of his mature talent. Satori in Paris is a rollicking autobiographical account of Kerouac's search for his heritage in France, and lands the author in his familiar milieu of seedy bars and all-night conversations. Pic is Kerouac's final novel and one of his most unusual. Narrated by ten-year-old Pictorial Review Jackson in a North Carolina vernacular, the novel charts the adventures of Pic and his brother Slim as they travel from the rural South to Harlem in the 1940s.

Lonesome Traveler

release date: Dec 01, 2007
Lonesome Traveler
In his first frankly autobiographical work, Jack Kerouac tells the exhilarating story fo the years when he was writing th books that captivated and infuriated the public, restless years of wandering during which he worked as a railway brakeman in California, a steward on a tramp steamer, and a fire lookout on the crest of Desolation Peak in the Cascde Mountains.

On the Road: The Original Scroll

release date: Aug 16, 2007
On the Road: The Original Scroll
The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120 foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period. It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac’s friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.

Piers of the Homeless Night

release date: Feb 01, 2018
Piers of the Homeless Night
See my hand up-tipped, learn the secret of my human heart . . . ' Soaring, freewheeling snapshots of life on the road across America, from the Beat writer who inspired a generation.

On the Road

release date: May 05, 2022
On the Road
On the Road swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat. Now recognized as a modern classic, its American Dream is nearer that of Walt Whitman than Scott Fitzgerald, and it goes racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion.

Big Sur

release date: Apr 23, 2021
Big Sur
In this 1962 novel, Kerouac's alter ego Jack Duluoz, overwhelmed by success and excess, gravitates back and forth between wild binges in San Francisco and an isolated cabin on the California coast where he attempts to renew his spirit and clear his head of madness and alcohol. Only nature seems to restore him to a sense of balance. In the words of Allen Ginsberg, Big Sur "reveals consciousness in all its syntactic elaboration, detailing the luminous emptiness of his own paranoiac confusion."
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