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The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac

The Dharma Bums

By: Jack Kerouac, Ann Douglas (Introduction by)

Paperback

Published: 19th September 2000
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"The Dharma Bums" appeared just one year after the author's explosive "On The Road" had put the Beat Generation on the literary map and Kerouac on the best-seller list. The same expansiveness, humour and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novels sparks this one too, but through a more cohesive story. The books follow two young men engaged in a passionate search for dharma or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high sierras to seek the lesson of solitude.

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)

ISBN: 9780141184883
ISBN-10: 0141184884
Series: Penguin Classics Ser.
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 19th September 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.0 x 12.7  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.16

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