Showing posts from September, 2011

Kerouac's Novel as Religious Revelation

From very early on in the novel:

"Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me."

Kerouac argued that his novel was not an encouragement to much of what followed him, but rather a quest, a quest for a kind of religious salvation.

Kerouac Sketching Out America

from Book of Sketches
Jack Kerouac

  Ah Neal--the shaggy
whiteface cows are
arranged in stooped
  dejected feed, necks
  bent, upon the earth
  that has a several
mood under several
  skies & openings--Ah
  the sad dry Land ground
  that's open between
grasses whip't bald
by the endless Winds--
  the clouds are bunched
up on the Divide of
the horizon, are shining
  upon they city--the
little fences are lonely--
The commentary made in a journal entry on an earlier passage works as well for this:

There is about this a poetic
naivete that is endearing because
it is undemanding. The lines break
where the lines break without much
thought of rule or order or consequence
or meaning or rhythm or any of the other
guiding lights of well-considered
poetry--and yet because it lacks
these almost by design, it has an
kind of swinging, free and open
rhythm--a movement all its own and
not replicable without trying
and trying would lose the naivete
of the whole.  I don’t know if
the whole book wi…