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Dharma Bums, The : Penguin Modern Classics - Jack Kerouac

Dharma Bums, The

Penguin Modern Classics

Paperback

Published: 3rd August 2000
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A witty, moving philosophical novel, Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums is a journey of self-discovery through the lens of Zen Buddhist thought. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Ann Douglas. Following the explosive energy of On the Road, the book that put the Beat Genration on the literary map - and Jack Kerouac on the bestseller list - comes The Dharma Bums, in which Kerouac charts the spiritual quest of a group of friends in search of Dharma, or Truth. Ray Smith and his friend Japhy, along with Morley the yodeller, head off into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude and experience the Zen way of life. But in wildly Bohemian San Francisco, with its poetry jam sessions, marathon drinking bouts and experiments in 'yabyum', they find the ascetic route distinctly hard to follow. Jack Kerouac (1922-69) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. His first published novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that made Kerouac famous. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Subterraneans, Big Sur, and The Dharma Bums. Kerouac died in Florida at the age of forty-seven. If you enjoyed The Dharma Bums, you might like Kerouac's On the Road, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A vivid evocation of part of our time' New York Post 'A descriptive excitement unmatched since the days of Thomas Wolfe' The New York Times Book Review

Up for air after The Subterraneans- way up (mountain climbing is the new kick) are the Dharma Bums, Ray Smith, Japhy Ryder- a high-domed hepcat, and some of their Zen Lunatic friends who have been chewing their cuds, sipping muscatel, junking, holding Zen Fun Love Orgies (no celibate Buddhists these) in the cellars of San Francisco. Under the influence of Japhy, Ray is also introduced to the simpler splendors of the great outdoors- the cook-out and the sleeping bag- as well as the happy abandon of "leaping and yelling from crag to crag" on a big climb. They come down and Ray travels home (the transcontinental transcendentalism of On The Road here), hoofs it back from North Carolina to go up Desolation Peak- looking for the Great Truth, after the months of "cut-off-ness, snipped, blownoutness, putoutness, turned-off-ness, nothing-happens- ness, gone-ness, gone-out-ness".... There, high on a hilltop, it is revealed, the search ends- and except for those dedicated, nirvana will never have seemed nearer. (Kirkus Reviews)

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where, he said, he 'roamed fields and riverbanks by day and night, wrote little novels in my room, first novel written at age eleven, also kept extensive diaries and "newspapers" covering my own-invented horse-racing and baseball and football worlds' (as recorded in the novel Doctor Sax). He was educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell. He said that he 'decided to become a writer at age seventeen under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet, who later died on Anzio beach head; read the life of Jack London at eighteen and decided to also be a lonesome traveler; early literary influences Saroyan and Hemingway; later Wolfe (after I had broken leg in Freshman football at Columbia read Tom Wolfe and roamed his New York on crutches).'

Kerouac wished, however, to develop his own new prose style, which he called 'spontaneous prose.' He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat generation of the 1950s. This may clearly be seen in his most famous novel On the Road, and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven.

Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.

Visit Jack Kerouac's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780141184883
ISBN-10: 0141184884
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 3rd August 2000
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.17
Edition Number: 1