A Guide to Kerouac’s Characters


There were some huge technical issues immediately preceding the release of Beatdom #3, and sadly the issue was never available in print. It is, however, available here to download.

In this issue we ran a long feature that named the real-life people behind the characters that were featured in Jack Kerouac’s novels.

To read the full list, please click here. (It’s free!) Below are just some of those characters.

Real Name:

William Burroughs


Burroughs should need no brief biography printed on the pages of Beatdom. If you are reading this, then you know his story and his work. If you don’t, then no few lines is enough – buy his books and books about him.


Book of Dreams – Bull Hubbard
Desolation Angels – Bull Hubbard
On the Road – Old Bull Lee
The Subterraneans – Frank Carmody
The Town and the City – Will Dennison
Vanity of Duluoz – Will Hubbard

Real Name:

Lucien Carr


Carr was central to the Beat movement. He was the embodiment of Beat – intelligent yet wild, well read but crazy. He introduced Kerouac and Ginsberg. “Lou was the glue,” Ginsberg quipped. He killed David Kammerer and sought refuge with Burroughs and Kerouac.


Big Sur – Julian

Book of Dreams – Julian Love

On The Road – Damion

The Subterraneans – Sam Vedder
The Town and the City – Kenneth Wood

Vanity of Duluoz – Claude de Maubris

Real Name:

Neal Cassady


Cassady perhaps the only person on this list more famous for his most noted alias – Dean Moriarty. The legendary Holy Goof inspired so much of the Beat movement and literature, despite having no famous literary output of his own. He was Ginsberg’s lover and ‘secret hero of these poems’.


Big Sur – Cody Pomeray
Book of Dreams – Cody Pomeray
Desolation Angels – Cody Pomeray
The Dharma Bums – Cody Pomeray

The Subterraneans – Leroy
On the Road – Dean Moriarty
Visions of Cody – Cody Pomeray

Real Name:

Gregory Corso


Corso is a hero here at Beatdom. Whereas most would think of the holy trinity of Beats – Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs – we rate Corso among them as an equal. His life was long and tragic, but his poetry immortalised him as a great.


Book of Dreams – Raphael Urso
Desolation Angels – Raphael Urso
The Subterraneans – Yuri Gligoric

Real Name:

Allen Ginsberg


As with Burroughs, if you don’t know much about Ginsberg, then perhaps you ought to go and do some more reading. This short biography could never do him justice for his role in poetry, and in the Beat Generation.


Big Sur – Irwin Garden
Book of Dreams – Irwin Garden
Desolation Angels – Irwin Garden
The Dharma Bums – Alvah Goldbrook
On the Road – Carlo Marx
The Subterraneans – Adam Moorad
The Town and the City – Leon Levinsky
The Vanity of Duluoz – Irwin Garden
Visions of Cody – Irwin Garden

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David S. Wills

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David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom literary journal and the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult.He travels a lot and currently lectures in China. He also runs an ESL website. You can read more about and by David at his blog, www.davidswills.com or on Tumblr.

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