Poets in The Dharma Bums

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Poets in The Dharma Bums

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Jan 17, 2009, 9:42 am

Looks like touchstones don't work in subject lines -- anyway, do any of you know which poets "Cacoethes" is going on about at Japhy's farewell party?

My son and I thought "O.O. Dowler" was ee cummings and "Doctor Musial" was William Carlos Williams. But who else? I'd love to know.

Feb 5, 2009, 11:55 am


Rheinhold Cacoethes was based on Kenneth Rexroth.

O.O. Dowler was W.H. Auden, and you are correct, Doctor Musial was indeed William Carlos Williams.

(These identifications are based on a comparison of Kerouac's original scroll version of the book and the published version.)

Any more?

Feb 6, 2009, 9:35 am

>Any more?

You gave more answers from the scroll version in the other thread, and I appreciate it so very much!

Feb 6, 2009, 1:05 pm

You are very welcome.

Here's one more:

Tough Shit Short was based on T.S. Eliot

Feb 6, 2009, 8:37 pm

Thanks for yr help with the Kerouac fictional names in D.B. The Tough Shit Short for T.S. Eliot is funny. Thanks for looking up the scroll versions for us.
Has The Dharma Bums scroll been published like OTR or were you just lucky enough to have a peak at it somewhere? Just curious. I went with some friends last year to Lowell to view the OTR scroll when it was on on the road for various stops around the country. It was really incredible to see the whole thing laid out and they also supplemented the exhibit with a lot of other Kerouac-related stuff ( photographs and other small press items and such ). I know I've seen a picture of him somewhere holding the D.B. scroll partially unfurled.

Feb 7, 2009, 4:22 am

No, the Dharma Bums scroll text has not been published in full. It came up for auction at Christie's in 2001 and they issued an illustrated catalogue which contained photos and transcriptions of the scroll text. So that's where I found the real character names that Kerouac used before he changed them for publication. Incidentally, the scroll did not sell in 2001 because the highest bid, of $190K, was below the minimum set by the estate. It came up for sale again in 2003, and this time went for $110K - even lower than the best bid two years previously! This time the estate accepted the bid, and the scroll went to a mystery buyer. No one knows its present whereabouts.

I saw the OTR scroll when it was here in the UK recently. Some of my books and ephemera were displayed alongside. It's now moved to Ireland for several months. I think it's wonderful that the owner is willing to show the OTR scroll around the world, unlike the mysterious DB scroll owner who probably has it stashed away in a bank vault somewhere ...

Edited: Jun 8, 2012, 1:06 am

Restatement of the obvious, but will help round out the list:

Ray Smith = Jack Kerouac
Japhy Ryder = Gary Snyder
Francis DaPavia = Philip Lamantia
Alvah Goldbrook = Alan Ginsberg
Alan Watts = Arthur Whane
Ike O'Shay = Michael McClure
Warren Coughlin = Philip Whalen

Sep 12, 2012, 9:23 pm

hello r u guys teenagers n wat exactly is the group about

Sep 14, 2012, 2:39 pm

Not teenagers. As to what this group is about, see: http://www.online-literature.com/periods/beat.php

Dec 19, 2012, 8:50 am

A more complete Dharma Bums character key can be found here, as part of The Kerouac Companion website: