The Unknown Jack Kerouac

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photoBorn on March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac would become a literary legend by the time he died at the age of 47. His writings were a celebration of American cities, places, and people. The 1957 "On the Road," his only attempt at a traditional novel, would become the touchstone of the Beat Generation and untold generations to follow.

As Kerouac toiled at his mother's kitchen table in Queens, NY, determined to write the Great American Novel, he drew his narrative from the extensive journals of his cross-country pilgrimages that took him from the Mississippi River in Louisiana to the Badlands of North Dakota.

Hear a conversation with historian Douglas Brinkley who has dug into the journals of Jack Kerouac and discovered the philosophical world of one of the Beat Generation's greatest writers.


Douglas Brinkley, professor of history and director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at University of New Orleans, author of the new volume "The Windblown World: The Journals Of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954"

Joyce Johnson, author and novelist. Her books include "Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957--1958," "Minor Characters," and "Missing Men"

David Amram, music composer who has collaborated with Jack Kerouac. He has composed over 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas and wrote many scores for theatre and film, including "Splendor in the Grass" and "The Manchurian Candidate".

This program aired on October 22, 2004.


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