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Author Information: Jack Kerouac

 
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Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922, the youngest of three children in a French-Canadian family. He attended local Catholic schools and won a football scholarship to Columbia University in New York City, where he met Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsburg, and William S. Burroughs. He quit school in his sophmore year and joined the Merchant Marine, beginning the restless wanderings that were to continue for the greater part of his life. His first novel The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, first published in 1957 and memorializing his adventures with Neal Cassidy, that epitomized to the world what became known as "the Beat generation" and made Kerouac one of the most controversial and best-known writers of his time. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, and Big Sur. Kerouac considered them all to be part of "one enormous comedy," which he called The Duluoz Legend. "In my old age," he wrote, "I intend to collect all my work and reinsert my pantheon of uniform names, leave the long shelf full of books there, and die happy." He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969, at the age of forty-seven.

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