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3.5 Jack Kerouac, King of The Beats  

2012-07-07 14:13:11|  分类: Effortless Engli |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Jack Kerouac was an American novelist, writer, poet, and artist.
While enjoying popularity but little critical success during his own
lifetime, Kerouac is now considered one of America's most important
authors. His spontaneous, confessional prose style inspired many
other writers, including Tom Robbins, Lester Bangs, Hunter S.
Thompson, and Bob Dylan.

Kerouac's best known works are On the Road, The Dharma Bums,
Big Sur and Visions of Cody.

He divided most of his adult life between roaming the vast American
landscape and living with his mother. Faced with a changing country,
Kerouac sought to find his place, eventually rejecting the conservative
values of the 1950s. His writing often reflects a desire to break
free from society's structures and to find meaning in life.

vocab:

novelist: n. writer, author
critical success: success with
critics, good opinion from
reviews
considered: v. thought to be
spontaneous: adj. unplanned
confessional: adj. open & honest
about one’s feelings and life

works: n. books, art projects
roaming: v. moving around,
wandering, traveling around
vast: adj. huge, very large and
wide
landscape: n. land
sought: v. looked for
find his place: find his purpose
rejecting: v. saying “no” to
desire: n. wish, something you
want
structures: rules

-----------------------------------------------------------------

This search led him to experiment with drugs and to embark on
trips around the world. His books are often credited as the catalyst
for the 1960s counterculture.
Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, to a family of French-
Canadians.
Jack didn't start to learn English until the age of six, and at home he
and his family spoke French. At an early age, he was profoundly
marked by the death of his elder brother Gérard, an event that later
prompted him to write the book “Visions of Gerard”.

vocab:

experiment with: v. try
to embark: v. go, leave
credited: v. said to be
catalyst: n. start; something
that starts (or encourages) an
action
counterculture: n. sub-culture,
group that rejects the normal
culture
profoundly: adj. deeply, seriously
marked by: v. affected by
elder: adj. older
prompted him: v. encouraged
him; made him

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Kerouac's athletic prowess led him to become a star on his local
football team, and this achievement earned him scholarships to
Boston College and Columbia University. At Columbia, he wrote several
sports articles for the student newspaper, the Columbia Daily
Spectator.
His football scholarship did not pan out and he went to live with an
old girlfriend, Edie Parker, in New York. It was in New York that Kerouac met

the people with whom he was to journey around the
world, the subjects of many of his novels: the “Beat Generation”,
including Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs.
He wrote his first novel, The Town and the City, as well as his most
famous work, the seminal On The Road, while living in New York.


vocab:

athletic: adj. re: sports
prowess: n. skill, ability
a star: n. a top performer, top
player
achievement: n. success
scholarship: n. money for university

pan out: v. happen, be successful

to journey: v. to travel
novels: n. books (long story
books)
seminal: adj. creative; original

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Town and the City was published in 1950 under the name "John
Kerouac" and earned him some respect as a writer. Unlike Kerouac's
later work, which established his Beat style, it is heavily influenced
by Kerouac's reading of Thomas Wolfe.

vocab:

published: v. printed
established: v. to introduce; to
prove
Beat: adj. a free style of writing
influenced by: v. affected by

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kerouac wrote constantly but could not find a publisher for his next
novel for six years. Building upon previous drafts tentatively titled
"The Beat Generation" and "Gone On The Road", Kerouac wrote what
is now known as "On the Road" in April, 1951 (ISBN 0-312-20677-1).
Publishers rejected the book due to its experimental writing style and
its sympathetic tone towards minorities and marginalized social
groups of the United States in the 1950s. In 1957, Viking Press purchased
the novel, demanding major revisions.

vocab:

constantly: adv. all the time; very
often
building upon: v. adding to
drafts: n. unfinished books (or
papers or articles or reports)
tentatively: adv. temporarily; in an
unsure way

experimental: adj. very different;
very original, very new
sympathetic tone: kind attitude
minorities: n. small groups in
society (ie. Africa-Americans in the
USA)
marginalized social groups:
groups with no power in society
purchased: v. bought (to buy)
demanding: v. insisting on, saying
something must be done
revisions: n. changes

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 2007, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of On The Road, an
uncensored version of On The Road will be released by Viking
Press, containing text that was removed from the 1957 version
because it was deemed too explicit for 1957 readers. It will be
drawn solely from the original manuscript.
The book was largely autobiographical,
describing Kerouac's roadtrip adventures across the United States and Mexico with Neal
Cassady. Kerouac's novel is often described as the defining work of
the post-World War II.

vocab:

to coincide with: v. to be at the
same time as
uncensored: adj. not changed by
the government/authority
released: v. published, printed
containing: v. having
deemed: v. thought to be
explicit: adj. strong and direct
(possibly obscene)
drawn: v. taken from
solely: adv. only
manuscript: n. typed paper/story

autobiographical: adj. about
one’s own life
road-trip: n. a trip (using a car)
the defining work: n. the most
important book

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 1954, Kerouac discovered Dwight Goddard's "A Buddhist Bible" at
the San Jose Library, which marked the beginning of Kerouac's
immersion into Buddhism.
He chronicled parts of this, as well as some of his adventures with
San Francisco-area poets, in the book The Dharma Bums, published
in 1958.
Kerouac developed a friendship with the Buddhist-Taoist scholar Alan
Watts. He also met and had discussions with the famous Japanese
Zen Buddhist D.T. Suzuki.

vocab:

discovered: v. found
immersion into: n. deep study of;
powerful experience with
chronicled: v. told; wrote about
scholar: n. professor; someone
who studies

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 1955 Kerouac wrote a biography of Siddhartha Gautama, entitled
Wake Up, which was unpublished during his lifetime but eventually
serialized in Tricycle magazine, 1993-95.

He died on October 21, 1969 at St. Anthony's Hospital in St.
Petersburg, Florida. His death, at the age of 47, resulted from an
internal hemorrhage caused by cirrhosis of the liver, the result of a
life of heavy drinking. He was living at the time with his third wife
Stella, and his mother Gabrielle. He is buried in his home town of
Lowell.

vocab:

Siddhartha Gautama: n. The
Buddha
entitled: n. named
serialized: v. published in small
parts

resulted from: v. caused by
hemorrhage: n. sudden loss of
blood; sudden bleeding
cirrhosis of the liver: n. dying
of the liver; disease of the liver
buried: v. (dead body) put
under the ground

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