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[Ebook Kindle ePUB] The Haunted Life by Jack Kerouac

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1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac In March his close friend and literary confidant Sebastian Sampas lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic That spring still reeling with grief over Sebastian Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg offsetting the loss of Sampas by immersing himself in New York's blossoming mid century bohemia That August however Carr stabbed his longtime acuaintance and mentor David Kammerer to death in Riverside Park claiming afterwards that he had been defending his manhood against Kammerer's persistent and unwanted advances Kerouac was originally charged in Kammerer's killing as an accessory after the fact as a result of his aiding Carr in disposing of the murder weapon and Kammerer's eyeglasses Conseuently Kerouac was jailed in August 1944 and married his first wife Edie Parker on the twenty second of that month in order to secure the money he needed for his bail bond Eventually the authorities accepted Carr's account of the killing trying him instead for manslaug. There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost Ernest Hemingway famously lost the only draft of the first short stories he ever wrote on a French train Most writers have lost manuscripts conspicuously placed in uotes because those stories for whatever reason the writer has are socked away until after their deaths interestingly Hemingway also falls into this category Kerouac s The Haunted Life falls into the category of the truly lost He didn t know where it had gotten off to he thought he might have left it in the backseat of a NY taxi cab or maybe that was just a nod to Hemingway s lost manuscript and Kerouac s own self mythologization What happened was the manuscript of The Haunted Life was left in a Columbia College closet perhaps Allen Ginsberg s Luckily whomever found it held onto it and has now made it s way to publication The Haunted Life as Kerouac had it planned was going to be a three part novel chronicling the effects of war on society The individual sections were to be called Home War and Changes It is the Home fragment that has survived It is a day in the life of college student Peter Martin home for the summer he visits friends walks around the town meets a girl he s interested in and meets his father at a bar There is not much overt action but a lot going on in Kerouac s portrayal of the characters Just as the last chapter of the first section is hitting a crescendo and you re ready to read what comes after thatit ends Kerouac does display some virtuoso skill for a neophyte work One section that stands out is the dramatization of the passage of time through life illustrated in the span of morning until noon It is subtle and effective and would make any mature writer proud to have written itAs editor Todd Tietchen notes in his introduction Kerouac probably considered the Home section finished because there were no emendations additions revisions or notes on the text It can be reasoned the other two sections would juxtapose the idealistic reverie Peter Martin experiences in the Home section It doesn t seem Kerouac had the time to write the other two parts but readers of Kerouac know that Peter Martin is the protagonist in Kerouac s first published novel The Town and the City After the fragment of The Haunted Life Tietchen has included Kerouac s notes on the story and readers can see The Haunted Life material subtly shift if not exactly morph into material for The Town and the City Kerouac was surely the ultimate expression of Fitzgerald s egotist Kerouac s impetus right from the start is to mythologize his life Even at this early juncture is already developing the archetypes such as the mad poet in The Haunted Life based on Sebastian Sampas and given the name Garabed Tourain a characterization Kerouac later work into Carlo Marx based on Allen Ginsberg Also the man of action in Haunted is the character of Dick Sheffield based on real life friend Bill Chandler which would find its final iteration in Dean Morarity based on Neal Cassady in On The Road The Haunted Life was probably written as a reuiem for childhood friends that had been killed in the war especially Sebastian Sampas Kerouac wrote the Home section days after learning of Sampas s death Even though The Haunted Life may be a memoriam for those lost friends Tietchen hypothesizes The Haunted Life and Kerouac s later work may stand as a memorial for all those lost in the war and whose loss substantially changed the world but also the individualSomething must be said about the idealistic tone of The Haunted Life as well Even though in the work notes that accompany The Haunted Life Kerouac says it will be a sad book but Peter s outlook and the tone of the piece are very idealistic and the characters share idealism in their world view Peter and Garabed share a romantic world view that a revolution is coming for the better while Peter and Dick want to explore the world knowing full well a war is coming but see it as an adventure and not with the understanding of the conseuences wars bring This a fallacy in the thinking of young men from time immemorial This idealism stands in counterpoint to Kerouac s later tone in his mature works where a foggy gloom always seems to hang over everything even a book like Dr Sax which captures the carefree innocence and imagination of youth as it explores the world around itThe volume of The Haunted Life also includes writing notes Kerouac made for the his novel The Town and The City as well as some correspondence between Kerouac and his father Leo that is fairly revealing in Kerouac as a person and aspiring novelist Leo Kerouac s summation of the aftereffects of the war are uite amazing and perceptive in their analysis of the social changes coming after the war How much of this Kerouac incorporated into his world view it is certain his father s bigotry later manifested itself in Kerouac in his later years but how it affected the revolutionary artist in Kerouac is anybody s guess The Haunted Life is an insightful look at Kerouac as a developing artist that Kerouac fans and academicians can appreciate Now maybe someday someone will come forward with Hemingway s lost short stories

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The Haunted Life

Impetus for its title Garabed is a leftist idealist and poet with a pronounced tinge of the Byronic Dick is a romantic adventurer whose wanderlust has him poised to leave Galloway for the wider world with or without Peter The Haunted Life also contains a compelling and controversial portrayal of Jack's father Leo Kerouac recast as Joe Martin Opposite of Garabed's progressive New Deal persepctive Joe is a right wing and bigoted populist and an ardent admirer of radio personality Father Charles Coughlin The conflicts of the novella are primarily intellectual then as Peter finds himself suspended between the differing views of history politics and the world embodied by the other three characters and struggles to define what he believes to be intellectually true and worthy of his life and talents The Haunted Life skillfully edited by University of Massachusetts at Lowell Assistant Professor of English Todd F Tietchen is rounded out by sketches notes and reflections Kerouac kept during the novella's composition as well as a revealing selection of correspondence with his father Leo Keroua. Got this at the library but I d like to own it and read it again sometime mostly for his sketches and reflections which give further insight and explanations of his ideas for The Town and the City of which The Haunted Life is pretty much a lost early unfinished rendition and ideas for his future projects and also for the several letters from his father Leo which are great to read They show similar interests and themes as Jack s and reveal what had to be earlier a fairly formative influence upon the child There is even Leo s sketch of Jack s older brother Gerard Leo s favorite who died at age 9This book is definitely well done by the editor and a valuable contribution I feel I got to know Kerouac even better and I got to read his creative thoughtful ideas when he was still pretty much starting out even though it almost seems he d already spent the now proverbial 10000 hours reading everything to forge and spur his own creativity and ambitions I definitely feel a kinship with Kerouac And there are so many books of his to read

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Hter and thus nullifying the charges against Kerouac At some point later in the year under circumstances that remain rather mysterious the aspiring writer lost a novella length manuscript titled The Haunted Life a coming of age story set in Kerouac's hometown of Lowell MassachusettsKerouac set his fictional treatment of Peter Martin against the backdrop of the everyday the comings and goings of the shopping district the banter and braggadocio that occurs within the smoky atmospherics of the corner bar the drowsy sound of a baseball game over the radio Peter is heading into his sopho year at Boston College and while home for the summer in Galloway he struggles with the pressing issues of his day the economic crisis of the previous decade and what appears to be the impending entrance of the United States into the Second World War The other principal characters Garabed Tourian and Dick Sheffield are based respectively on Sebastian Sampas and fellow Lowellian Billy Chandler both of whom had already died in combat by the time of Kerouac's drafting of The Haunted Life providing some of the. When it comes to new releases from the Kerouac estate I m sorry to say I believe we ve reached the Bukowski Point Right now as I glance at my bookshelves I count over 50 books either by or about Kerouac and I have a hard time believing anything new or interesting has yet to come to light While Kerouac was a prolific writer how much can be mined from this vein Well as it turns out there still some good stuff out there The Haunted Life and Other Writings is a manuscript that Kerouac famously claimed to have left in a NY cab around 1944 As it turns out the manuscript was actually left in a closet in a dorm room at Columbia University At some point it was discovered and remained in a private collection until it was sold in 2002 at Sotheby s for 95K The lost manuscript was Kerouac s most complete attempt at the time at writing what was to become The Town and the City his first novel But what I found interesting than The Haunted Life bit was the Other Writings bit which include a handful of letters written to Jack by his father Leo In Kerouac s books Leo is always portrayed as who he was in real life a hardworking blue collar guy full passion and bombast But these letters show that Jack got at least some of his literary flair from his old man who as it turns out was uite the letter writer himself And that new tidbit of information alone makes The Haunted Life and Other Writings a worthwhile read for any Kerouac devotee The Bukowski Point when a popular writer s work has been mined so ruthlessly that literally ANYTHING good or bad with hisher name on it will be published Why Dolla dolla bill ya ll


10 thoughts on “The Haunted Life

  1. says:

    There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost Ernest Hemingway famously l

  2. says:

    Oh Jack how I miss theeFirst of all the story behind how this manuscript disappeared is fascinating It seems like it was left in a dormitory closet probably Allen Ginsberg's old room but I prefer the 'romantic' story of how it was left and lost in a downtown taxi by Kerouac doing laps of the city in the back seat of a cab This is one of th

  3. says:

    An interesting book Mostly centered around The Haunted Life and Peter Martin’s coming of age in the town of Galloway The book also includes letters from his father Leo to him and other excerpts The themes in the book would later be reflected in Kerouac’s books This lost manuscript is well worth a read to see how the authors work evolved over time

  4. says:

    An odd collection of writings And a really terrible choice to make an audio book The main snippet of a story is fascinating as an artifact than as a section of an unfinished book It feels very much like a 2nd draft of a developing author The essay at the beginning is insufferable and boring I have no idea why essays that speak about the book are in the introduction they belong as epilogues And the rest is jus

  5. says:

    When it comes to new releases from the Kerouac estate I'm sorry to say I believe we've reached the Bukowski Point Right now as I glance at my bookshelves I count over 50 books either by or about Kerouac and I have a hard time believing anything new or interesting has yet to come to light While Kerouac was a prolific writer how much can be

  6. says:

    Derivative is a criticism thrown about far too often and uite often I find myself at disagreing with its usage this novella is a case in point People uite freuently ignore pre on the road Kerouac as a pale imitation of Thoma

  7. says:

    This lost and now found novella by Jack Kerouac performs a small miracle somehow in a space of a few day's time basking with the characters you get a vivid fixed in space and time sense of a middle of the pendulum swing positionThrough backstories relayed through offhand conversation daily rituals making you feel at home amongst the clutter and a high literary pedigree for the high falutin' college age protagonists Kerouac provides a litera

  8. says:

    Any new Kerouac is cause for celebration Reading this unfinished novella from 1944 one meets again the young Jack trying to determine the kind of writer he will be In a diary entry from 090345 indicating that someone had asked him what he was looking for in his writing he records his reply as being a new methodthe vision

  9. says:

    Got this at the library but I'd like to own it and read it again sometime mostly for his sketches and reflections which give further insight and explanations of his ideas for The Town and the City of which The H

  10. says:

    I have mixed feelings The prose is fantastic and I loved the main character but I wish Kerouac wasn't so dismissive of the female characters in the novel I realize it was the early 1940s so what can you expect but it still bothered me In some of the non fiction writings at the end of the book he expressed some philosophies that I am opposed to including some borderline racist sympathizing It's almost like I wis

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