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Nonfiction & Literary Criticism

Jack Kerouac's Typescript Scroll of On the Road: sale 9652A (lot 307). New York: Christie's, 2001.

Christie's International Inc. auction sale of the typescript scroll of On the Road.

On the Road: The Official Movie Companion. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.

Explores the lasting influence Jack Kerouac and the Beats left on American culture, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

Anderson, Cliff. Free Beer: Kicks & Truth with Jack Kerouac & Other Strong Drinks. [s.n.]: Happyport Productions, 2006.

Written to stand up for Kerouac against the unfair critics who surfaced after his death and to show his comedic genius. Features a vignette, Kicks and Truth, written in 1968 by Kerouac and the author.

Bierowski, Thomas R. Kerouac in Ecstasy: Shamanic Expression in the Writings. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.

This critical text considers Jack Kerouac as writer-shaman, exploring the content and ecstatic technique of the novels and two experimental volumes that represent critical phases of his development. Author Thomas Bierowski also examines the reception ofKerouac's work.

French, Warren. Jack Kerouac. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986.

Part of Twayne's United States Authors Series , this insightful work of literary criticism takes the contrarian position that although not as popular as the cult novel On the Road , the novels that comprise the autobiographical Duluoz Legend and, in particular Big Sur, are critically significant.

Gewirtz, Isaac. Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road. New York: New York Public Library, 2007.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road presented at the New York Public Library Humanities and Social Sciences Library D. Samuel and Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall Nov. 9, 2007-Mar. 16, 2008.

Gewirtz, Isaac. Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats. New York: New York Public Library, 2009.

Featuring fifty reproductions of Kerouac’s horse-racing and baseball “publications,” score cards, team cards, and diagrams, drawn from The New York Public Library’s Jack Kerouac Archive. An insightful exploration of a little known Kerouac obsession.

Grace, Nancy. Jack Kerouac and the Literary Imagination. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

An exploration of Kerouac's fiction, poetry, religious writing, journals, and correspondence. It encompasses his fictional rewriting of his personal life, his life-long quest for spiritual enlightenment, and his resolute belief in the blending of popular and academic cultural artifacts to create voices and forms to speak of and to a new age.

Hipkiss, Robert A. Jack Kerouac, Prophet of the New Romanticism: A Critical Study of the Published Works of Kerouac and a Comparison of Them to Those of   J.D. Salinger, James Purdy, John Knowles, and Ken Kesey. Lawrence, KS: Regents Press of Kansas, 1976.


This early critical study looks to nineteenth century English and American romanticism for the roots of Kerouac's protagonists' vision of life. It then compares Kerouac's work to other New Romantic American writers — Salinger, Purdy, Knowles, and Kesey. Kerouac's spontaneous prose writing style is also astutely evaluated.

Hanick, Riley. Three Kinds of Motion: Kerouac, Pollock, and the Making of American Highways. Louisville, Kentucky: Sarabande Books, 2015.

Book-length essay chronicles Jackson Pollock, Jack Kerouac, and the origin of America’s highway system.


Hayes, Kevin J. ed. Conversations with Jack Kerouac. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.  

Features interviews ranging from 1957 to 1969, covering the breadth of the author's fame and literary output.The interviews show how Kerouac revitalized American literature, but they also trace his artistic and physical decline. The final interviews show how much the writer had crippled himself emotionally with too much alcohol and how his art became more unfocused as a result.

Holladay, Hilary. What's Your Road, Man?: Critical Essays on Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 20008.

Featuring essays from renowned Kerouac experts as well as emerging scholars, What's Your Road, Man? draws on an enormous amount of research into the literary, social, cultural, biographical, and historical contexts of Kerouac's canonical novel.


Hunt, Tim. Kerouac's Crooked Road: Development of a Fiction. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1981.

This insightful analysis of the five “road” novels places Kerouac in the center of American literary tradition, working out the strategies which link him to the conventional literature of Twain, Melville, and other American icons. Hunt's work demonstrates not only the changing aspects of the novels, but Kerouac's creative processes and development as a writer.


Hunt, Tim. The Textuality of Soulwork: Jack Kerouac's Quest for Spontaneous Prose. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.

A new critical perspective on Kerouac's work and his textual practices.


Jones, James T. Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend: The Mythic Form of an Autobiographical Fiction  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, 1999.

In the only critical examination of all of Jack Kerouac's published prose, James T. Jones turns to Freud to show how the great Beat writer used the Oedipus myth to shape not only his individual works but also the entire body of his writing.


Jones, James. T. A Map of Mexico City Blues: Jack Kerouac as Poet. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992.


James Jones provides a brief summary of Jack Kerouac's poetic career as a framework for Kerouac's 242 choruses.   The “map” discusses Kerouac's various trips to Mexico, conversion to Buddhism, attraction to blues and jazz, and how these influenced the theme and structure of “Mexico City Blues.” This thorough explication demonstrates the major contribution that this work makes to post-WW II poetry and is an informed study of the work's significance for the Beat movement.



Kerouac, Jack. The Beat Generation: 3-Act Play. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005.  

A previously unpublished play written in the same year as "On the Road" incorporates such themes as tension, friendship, and karma and follows the experiences of a group of down-and-out laborer friends who discuss their lives over a bottle of wine.


Kerouac, Jack. Book of Dreams. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2001.  

Jack Kerouac's autobiography as told through dreams. Each morning, immediately upon waking, Kerouac would scribble down everything he could remember about his dreams.

Kerouac, Jack. Departed Angels: [The Lost Paintings]. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004.  

The first published collection of artwork by author Jack Kerouac features paintings, drawings, and sketches from his unpublished notebooks, as well as text by Ed Adler discussing Kerouac's relationship with the visual arts as well the influence of Buddhism and Catholicism on his creative vision.


Kerouac, Jack. The Portable Jack Kerouac. New York: Viking, 1995.  

These excerpts from the novels that make up Legend of Duluoz are arranged chronologically as we follow the protagonist from childhood (Visions of Gerard) to teenager (Maggie Cassidy) to young man (Vanity of Duluoz and On the Road) to road-weary traveler ( Visions of Cody and Tristessa) to seeker of truth ( Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels) to maturity (Big Sur).



Kerouac, Jack, Albert Saijo, and Lew Welch. Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road. Edited by Donald Allen. Rev. Ed. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1998.


On a rainy night in San Francisco, just before Thanksgiving in 1959, Jack Keroauc, Lew Welch, and Albert Saijo piled into Welch's car and set off on a cross-country trip, headed for New York City and then on to Keroauc's mother's home on Long Island.



Kerouac, Jack. Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters, 1940-1956. Ann Charters, ed. New York: Viking, 1995. 

The letters in this thoughtful collection begin in the year that Kerouac entered college and end in the year before the success of On the Road. Written to key members of the Beat movement, friends, and family, the correspondence represents a valuable group of literary artifacts. The letters give insight into Kerouac's relationships with their recipients, chronicle the development of his writing skills, and testify to his seemingly boundless wish to express himself. To connect any historical gaps, the editor provides helpful commentary and includes a few of the letters that Kerouac received back from his correspondents.



Kerouac, Jack. Scripture of the Golden Eternity. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books. 1994.


These classic Kerouac meditations, zen koans, and prose poems express the poet’s beatific quest for peace and joy through oneness with the universe.



Kerouac, Jack. Selected Letters, 1957-1969. Ann Charters, ed. New York: Viking, 1999.


In this second volume of letters edited by Charters, the correspondence begins at the point that On the Road has been published and continues up until two days before Kerouac's death. Through these letters to friends and family, there is poignant documentation of the writer's changing state of mind — from enjoying fame, to seeking seclusion, and eventually stumbling toward his tragic end. Of special local interest are the letters written during the period when Kerouac lived in Northport, New York. The editor chooses well from amidst Kerouac's voluminous correspondence, and her insightful commentary completes any historical information that is not clear.


Kerouac, Jack. Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954. New York: Viking, 2004.


Excerpts from his diaries chronicle a pivotal era in Kerouac's life, describing the creation of his first novel; his special friendships with Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady; and his own take on the events described in On the Road.



Lang, Peter. The Beat Generation: Critical Essays. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.


Fourteen scholars discuss the Beat movement in literature. The majority of the essays explore the works of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder.


Leland, John. Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (they're not what you think). New York: Viking, 2007.


A lighthearted discussion of On the Road profiles Kerouac's classic work as a timeless coming-of-age primer, in a literary study that focuses on the character of Sal Paradise and the lessons he imparts about such topics as work, sex, and spirituality.


Maher, Paul Jr. ed. Empty Phantoms: Interview and Encounters with Jack Kerouac. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005.


A comprehensive collection of interviews spans the influential writer's career and includes both celebrated and obscure dialogues with such journalists as Mike Wallace and William F. Buckley, in a volume that offers insight into Kerouac's passionate beliefs, literary integrity, and searching spirituality


McDarrah, Fred W. Kerouac and Friends: A Beat Generation Album. New York: W. Morrow, 1985.


A compendium of articles, both pro and con, about the Beat scene.


Montgomery, John, comp. Kerouac at the “Wild Boar” and Other Skirmishes. San Anselmo, CA: Fels & Firn Press, 1986.


In an eclectic collection of articles, stories, poems, and unpublished materials, Kerouac friends and scholars capture, in their own words, the spirit of this influential writer.


Myrsiades, Kostas. The Beat Generation: Critical Essays. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.


Fourteen contributions from scholars in the U.S. and abroad discuss the Beat movement in literature. The majority of the essays explore the works of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder.


Nicosia, Gerald. One and Only: The Untold Story of On the road and Lu Anne Henderson, The Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey. Berkeley, CA: Viva Editions, 2011.


Relies on personal interviews to tell the life of Lu Anne Henderson, focusing on her role in "On the Road," marriage to Neal Cassady, friendship with Jack Kerouac, and impact on the Beat Generation.

Northport Historical Society. For Jack: Poems for Jack Kerouac, Gathered from Regional Authors for the Kerouac's Northport Exhibition. Northport, NY: Birnham Wood Graphics, 2000.


Poems gathered from local authos and compiled by the Northport Historical Society for the Kerouac Northport exhibition which took place July 9 - September 3, 2000..

Swartz, Omar. The View From “On the Road”: The Rhetorical Vision of Jack Kerouac. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, 1999.


Through careful analysis of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Omar Swartz argues that Kerouac’s influence on American society is largely rhetorical. Kerouac’s significance as a cultural icon can be best understood, Swartz asserts, in terms of traditional rhetorical practices and principles.


Tietchen, Todd. The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished & Newly Translated Writings. New York, NY: The Library of America, 2016.


Collection of long lost, never-before-published and newly translated writings by the legendary author of On the Road that provide missing links in his path to a wholly new style of storytelling.


Theado, Matt. Understanding Jack Kerouac. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2000.

This work documents and analyzes the evolution of Kerouac's literary techniques and style. Studies of Kerouac's works often focus on his books in their order of publication, but this author uses the chronological order of when the books were actually written. The author traces Kerouac's use of themes, motifs, and language. Also included is a discussion of how elements of the various fictional plots related to real persons and events in Kerouac's life. This study adds perspective on how Kerouac's literary skills and spontaneous style developed.


Weinreich, Regina. The Spontaneous Poetics of Jack Kerouac: A Study of the Fiction.  New York: Marlowe & Co., 1995.

Explores Kerouac's place in American literature by establishing the total design of his work. The author contends that Kerouac wrote with a "grand design" in mind, that he thought of his works as one vast book.


Zott, Lynn M.The Beat Generation: A Gale Critical Companion. Detroit: Gale, 2003.

Three volume set. Volume one presents thematic chapters covering the Beat scene. Volume two and three consist of introductory articles to the lives, works, themes, and critical receptions of 28 quintessential writers.




Anstee, Rod, comp. Jack Kerouac: The Bootleg Era - An Annotated List. Sudbury, MA: Water Row Press, 1994.

An annotated bibliography of Kerouac writings published “underground,” it provides publishing histories and physical descriptions of the varied materials included.

Charters, Ann, comp. A Bibliography of Works by Jack Kerouac (Jean Louis De Kerouac) 1939-1975. New York: Phoenix Bookshop, 1975.

In preparation of this book, Charters spent two days with Kerouac recording the author's carefully kept and almost complete collection of his own writings. Comments made by Kerouac during this collaboration are scattered throughout the bibliography and enhance the detailed descriptions of books, pamphlets, broadsides, periodical articles, translations, recordings, and works set to music.

Milewski, Robert J. Jack Kerouac: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources, 1944-1979. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1981.

This is a comprehensive, annotated list of reviews of Kerouac's work. Information on works about Kerouac, or works related to his life and writings are also included. The compilation contains a detailed biographical chronology.




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