November has turned into a fat month for readers and fans of the work of Jack Kerouac. Two new books related to the man who coined the phrase Beat Generation have recently hit the shelves. Written before his first two, well-known novels, The Town And The City and On The Road, the newly discovered Kerouac work, The Sea Is My Brother shows him using the style of spontaneous writing he was not assumed to have used until years later.
The BBC reports that the lost manuscript was found by Kerouac’s brother-in-law, although most Beat scholars had assumed it to be lost forever. Kerouac was not very proud of his first work and it is rarely mentioned in biographies of him. One of his biographers, Gerald Nicosia, noted to ABC Australia’s The World Today program, “He actually called it, and this was a quote, he said it’s a crock … meaning a crock of shit.”
At any rate, it will give Beat pedants new material to mull over.
On November 1, Nicosia also released an offering of new information about the Beat author in his non-fiction offering One And Only, The Untold Story of ‘On The Road’. The new insights here come from Lu Anne Henderson, the woman who set Jack and Neal Cassady on their cross-country rave, as depicted in On The Road.
The interviews with Henderson tell a different side of the now-famously fabled story of how the Beat Generation was jump-started into motion. There are many excellent photos included, as well. Watch for a review in the soon-to-be-released Beatdom Issue 10, the Religion Issue!