Jack Kerouac

Visions of Gerard
  • Visions of Gerard

  • 'The piteousness of his little soft shroud of hair falling down his brow and swept aside by the hand over blue serious eyes'

    Described by Kerouac as 'my most serious sad and true book', Visions of Gerard forms the first volume of his memoir cycle the 'Duluoz Legend'.

    Based on Jack Kerouac's memories of the beloved older brother who died when he was a boy, it is unique among his novels for its dreamlike evocation of the sensations of childhood - its wisdom, anguish, intensity, innocence, joy and pain. It is a haunting exploration of the precariousness of existence.

    'Called a "pain-tale" by Kerouac, it's the story of an almost divine, Buddha-like child wracked with sickness and suffering' Guardian

RELEASED 06/02/2020

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where, he said, he 'roamed fields and riverbanks by day and night, wrote little novels in my room, first novel written at age eleven, also kept extensive diaries and "newspapers" covering my own-invented horse-racing and baseball and football worlds' (as recorded in the novel Doctor Sax). He was educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell. He said that he 'decided to become a writer at age seventeen under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet, who later died on Anzio beach head; read the life of Jack London at eighteen and decided to also be a lonesome traveler; early literary influences Saroyan and Hemingway; later Wolfe (after I had broken leg in Freshman football at Columbia read Tom Wolfe and roamed his New York on crutches).' Kerouac wished, however, to develop his own new prose style, which he called 'spontaneous prose.' He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat generation of the 1950s. This may clearly be seen in his most famous novel On the Road, and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven. Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.