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Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954

by Jack Kerouac

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This is an excellent collection of Jack Kerouac's journals written during the writing of his first novels, Town and Country and On the Road. Most of the focus is on the journal entries during the writing of Town and Country. It's very interesting to read about the methods and thoughts of Kerouac during this period. His journal entries are long and detailed. It's amazing to think of how much time he spent writing between the novels and his journals.

The journals that cover his early planning of On the Road are more a collection of ideas as opposed to what went on during the writing of the novel. Kerouac's thoughts are more ambiguous and unorganized in this portion of the collection, but reveal the early influence of Allen Ginsberg and Bhuddism on Kerouac.

While extensive, coming in at 422 pages, the Kerouac journals are a great way to gain more insight into the life and writing of Jack Kerouac. The compilation of journals could have perhaps been organized a bit better by the editor, however, this collection is great for aspiring writers along with those interested in Kerouac and the Beats. ( )
  ironicqueery | Jun 4, 2009 |
Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 by Jack Kerouac (2004)
  Francostudies | Feb 5, 2009 |
Kerouac began keeping journals in 1936, and continued for the rest of his life. The journals survive and editor Brinkley, writing in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998, promised us publication of "a multi-volume edition." Now it seems that all we will be getting is this 370-page book, covering only some of the material from the years 1947 to 1950, and with just a few pages from 1954 thrown in as extra.

The parts that have been selected for inclusion are apparently aimed at demonstrating the development of Kerouac's first two major works, The Town & the City, and On the Road. Strange, then, that nothing from Kerouac's 1948-49 journal of work on the latter book is included, although some of it did appear as a taster in the extracts Brinkley selected for publication in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998. That must surely be one of the most relevant journals for those interested in the development of On the Road and its omission here is a mystery. (Note: Although not in the hardback edition, Kerouac's On the Road journal has been added as a "postscript" to the later paperback edition of this book.) Other journal extracts published in Atlantic, and also in the New Yorker in 1998, are missing from the published book.

In his introduction, it seems to me that Brinkley places far too much emphasis on demolishing the "myth" that On the Road was frantically written in three weeks in April 1951, claiming that Kerouac had begun it much earlier. This may be news to Brinkley, but I'm sure that most Kerouac readers are already aware of that fact. They will have known it since Tim Hunt pointed out that Kerouac began working on the book in 1948, attempting at least five different versions over the next four years. Hunt published this information, with extracts from the earlier attempts, in his PhD thesis in 1975, and in his book, Kerouac's Crooked Road, in 1981.

There's no doubt that Kerouac DID write the version that eventually became the published On the Road in a three-week burst on a scroll of paper in April 1951. However, examination of the scroll reveals that it differs somewhat from the published version, with the insertion of material from his journals being added LATER, at a more leisurely pace, when Kerouac retyped it onto separate pages.

What we have in this volume makes fascinating reading, of course, and offers a little more insight into Kerouac's mind, and his working practices. Brinkley admits to editing the journals heavily in places, and also to mixing together parts from different journals, with no clear indication of the individual sources. The result of this can only be confusion.

This book has been six years in the making. I imagine that all Kerouac scholars and enthusiasts who have been waiting patiently for its appearance will need a copy, and will find the contents valuable. However, I do believe that an important opportunity has been missed to make this the truly outstanding work it could have been. ( )
1 vote Pitoucat | Oct 23, 2007 |
I was not very familiar with Kerouac at all before I read this book. Everyone has at least some idea of who he was supposed to be, but these journals definitely give one an intimate portrait of the writer. For all of his acclaim as the revolutionary of the beat generation, he truly seems to have wanted nothing more than to raise a family and have a normal life. His obsession with America and American cities goes beyond patriotism, almost to the level of a romantic love for everything American. This is worth your timed. If your not a die-hard Kerouac fan, this book might convert you. ( )
  psuedosmart | Jul 12, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143036068, Paperback)

Jack Kerouac is best known through the image he put forth in his autobiographical novels. Yet it is only his private journals, in which he set down the raw material of his life and thinking, that reveal to us the real Kerouac. In Windblown World, distinguished Americanist Douglas Brinkley has gathered a selection of journal entries from the most pivotal period of Kerouac’s life, 1947 to 1954. Here is Kerouac as a hungry young writer finishing his first novel while forging crucial friendships with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. Truly a self-portrait of the artist as a young man, this unique and indispensable volume is sure to become an integral element of the Beat oeuvre.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Introduces the lustrous and awe-inspiring journals Kerouac kept from mid-1947 to early 1954, the year during which he worte his first novels The town and the city and On the road.

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