(courtesy of the Ginsberg
Portrait of Jack Kerouac taken by Allen Ginsberg
in 1953 on fire escape of Ginsberg's apartment at 206 East 7th Street in
Manhattan. At this time, Kerouac had completed "On the Road" and other
His friends, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs Jr., were strongly supportive
when conservative critics of the day were upset by the subject matter of
the book and by what Kerouac called his "spontaneous prose." The inclusion
of Queens, NY subject matter was not only in "On the Road" but also in
"The Vanity of Duluoz". Although his new-found fame helped to promote his
previously unpublished books, he was profoundly disturbed by his loss of
privacy. He lost his gift for high-speed writing, drank heavily, and tried
to escape his notoriety by living in California. His last major work, Big
Sur (1962), described the price he paid for success, and he lived out his
final years back in Lowell with his mother.
||About Jack Kerouac-
excerpted from The Queens Chronical Newspaper- June 4, 1998
By Alysha Sideman
Born in Lowell, Massachusets in 1922
Died in 1969
"Father of the Beat Generation"
Jack Kerouac was born in a first generation Franco-American family in
1922 in Lowell, MA.
A star athlete, he won a footbal scholarship to Columbia University
in NYC and studied there from (1940-42). It was there that he would meet
his writer friends Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs,
among others, who would be future characters in his autobiographical fiction.
He joined the merchant marine and not long afterward in 1947, his hitchhiking
and driving excursions out west began what would later serve as the model
for American freedom and youth.
Jack Kerouac lived from 1950-1955 at 94-21 134th Street in Richmond
Hill, NY and also in Ozone Park with his mother where he actually wrote
"On the Road" in a three week writing spree. The publication of On the
Road (1957), a semi-autobiographical tale of his wanderings with Neal Cassady,
instantly established his reputation as a spokesman for the Beat Generation.
His influential novel became the bible of the beatnik and hippie era from
the late '50s through the 1960s.
Kerouac explained that his original use of "beat" was coined from Herbert
Huncke, a Times Square hustler, who used it to describe a state of pure
exhaustion. In Kerouac's mind, it was linked to a Catholic blissful "beatific"
vision, the direct knowledge of God enjoyed by the blessed in heaven.
A small plaque at 94-10 Crossbay Blvd in Ozone Park, where Jack Kerouac
also lived was placed in his honor by the Historic Landmarks Preservation
Center in 1996.