“Edited and published with unprecedented access to the (Jack) Kerouac archives, The Unknown Kerouac presents two lost novels, and Old Bull in the Bowery, which Kerouac wrote in French during the esoecially fruitful years of 1951 and 1952. Discovered among his papers in the mid-nineties, they have been translated into English for the first time by Jean-Christophe Cloutier, who incorporates Kerouac’s own partial translations.
Also included are two journals from the heart of this same crucial period. In Private Philologies, Riddles and a Ten-Day Writing Log, Kerouac recounts a broef stay in Denver – where he works on an early version of On The Road, reads dime novels, and even rides in a rodeo – and shows him contemplating writers like Chaucer and Joyce and playing with riddles and etymologies. Journal 1951, begun during a stay in a Bronx VA hospital charts, in ecstatic, moving, and self-revealing pages, the wave of insights and breakthroughs that led Kerouac to the most singular transformation of American prose style since (Ernest) Hemingway.
This landmark volume is rounded out with the memoir Memory Babe, a poignant evocation of childhood play and reverie in a robust immigrant community, in which Kerouac uncannily retrieves and distills the subtlest sense impressions. And finally, in an interview with his long-time friend and fellow Beat, John Clellon Holmes and in the late fragment Beat Spotlight, Kerouac reflects on his meteoric career and unlooked-for celebrity.”A full listing of the contents can be found hereJohn Winters early review (for WBUR) can be found here. An excerpt (an essay entitled “America in World History”, from a handwritten journal dated September 3 – October 9, 1946) may be seen on the Esquire magazine web-site and read here