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Kerouac's Crooked Road

The Development of a Fiction

Tim Hunt

Publication Year: 2010

Kerouac's Crooked Road is an attempt to shift the conversation from Kerouac’s biography to his writing by focusing on his best-known novel, On the Road, and the radically experimental recasting of it published posthumously as Visions of Cody.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-xii

Tim Hunt's study of Jack Kerouac's writing is the first, best-and only indispensable- guide that explains this American author's achievement as an important and original prose stylist. I initially read Kerouac's Crooked Road shortly after its publication in 1981. Hunt's explanation of what Kerouac was doing with his method...

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Preface to the SIU Press Edition: Twice upon a Road—The Scroll and Viking Versions of On the Road

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pp. xiii-xxxiv

When this study was originally published in 1981, Kerouac was still a suspect figure who was, it seemed, fated to be remembered only for his connection to Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs or, perhaps more plausibly, doomed to be forgotten altogether as his market as a writer of popular fiction faded. (By 1981 many of his books...

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Preface to the 1996 Edition: Men Talking in Bars

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pp. xxxv-l

Actual terms of his practice-his sense of style, his stance, his that it offers is still, I think, an appropriate foundation for chapter (a basis for the linked, yet contrasting discussions of the abstraction of writing those stories as novels. If this was not the present of the "city." Seemingly, that is, the oral and ...

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pp. li-lii

As the dedication suggests, lowe a great debt to John Clellon Holmes. He graciously allowed me to study his correspondence with Kerouac and was more than generous with his encouragement and advice. Kerouac was indeed fortunate to have such a friend, and I hope that someday soon John's own work, the novels...

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A Note on Texts and Sources

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pp. liii-lvi

The material used to prepare this study is delineated clearly in the text and notes, but a few matters deserve further comment. The manuscripts of the various On the Roads are held by the Kerouac estate and were not available to me. My construction of the development of On the Road is based on Kerouac's correspondence and his 1948-49 work journal. These materials contain excerpts of the book and extended descriptions of its various phases. These...

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pp. lvii-lx

Jack Kerouac is hardly a neglected writer. His novels are in print. There are now three biographies. One can find rock song odes to "Kerouac," and Hollywood will soon issue its first portrayal. But what all this interest points to is Kerouac's ambiguous status. Were Kerouac a truly popular writer, there would be no film and no songs. The readers of a best-selling writer like Arthur Hailey do not care to know the details of his personal life.

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Chapter One. An American Education

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pp. 1-76

In spite of its reputation, On the Road is best understood as a skillfully managed traditional novel. Both the manuscript history and the text itself make it clear that Kerouac's most famous book is a good deal more challenging and intricate, if less innovative, than has been generally believed. Even though the particular version...

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Chapter Two. From Fact to Vision: The Road Book

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pp. 77-142

On the Road is an important point in Kerouac's development, but in spite of its very real achievement and its popularity, On the Road is not a good indication of Kerouac's achievement. It suggests his concern with the American tradition, but On the Road was written before Kerouac had established his sense of voice. Attempts to describe Kerouac's career in terms...

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Chapter Three. The Redeeming Eye

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pp. 143-252

The discovery of sketching freed Kerouac from the need to translate his experience into fictional figures which then had to be manipulated like the markers in a board game. It freed him to concentrate on the interplay of perception and imagination, and the way this interplay assumed substance in language. It may seem...


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pp. 253-260


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pp. 261-262

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809385690
E-ISBN-10: 0809385694
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329700
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329700

Page Count: 308
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 793206727
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Kerouac's Crooked Road

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Subject Headings

  • Autobiographical fiction, American -- History and criticism.
  • Beat generation in literature.
  • Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. On the road.
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