Jean-Louis "Jack" Kerouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American writer (of French-Canadian descent) associated with The Beat Generation and best known for writing On the Road, an autobiographical novel describing Kerouac's travels with Neal Cassady. He also wrote The Dharma Bums, which details his adventures with fellow writer Gary Snyder.Interesting note: For a major figure of literature in the English language, Kerouac came to the language rather late: he was raised in a French-speaking (or rather, Joual-speaking) household, didn't learn English until he was six, and wasn't confident speaking English until high school. Rather impressive, eh?note He also wrote a few short stories in his native tongue, which have received increased attention since it was discovered that Kerouac had originally planned to write On the Road in French and actually produced an abortive manuscript of it before producing the famous version."Home I'll Never Be" and "On The Road" were both adapted to song by Tom Waits on his album Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.
Works by Jack Kerouac with their own pages:
- On the Road (1957)
- Pull My Daisy (1959) — short film based on Kerouac's play Beat Generation; Kerouac wrote the screenplay and starred
Other works by Jack Kerouac provide examples of:
- Author Avatar: Pretty much every protagonist in everything Kerouac ever published. Sal Paradise from On the Road is Kerouac. Kerouac uses avatars in virtually all of his novels, although for legal reasons, the names are changed from book to book. As a result, in The Dharma Bums, Kerouac is named Ray Smith, and in The Subterraneans, he is named Leo Percepied. Virtually every other character is these books is a thinly-disguised avatar of one of Kerouac's friends or some prominent Beat Generation figure as well.
- Roman à Clef: The vast majority of Kerouac's novels are simply retellings of things that happened to him and the other Beat writers, with the names changed (and some parts taken out, as the first draft of On the Road reveals). On The Road and Visions of Cody focus on his best friend Neal Cassady, The Dharma Bums is about his adventures with Gary Snyder, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks (written with William S. Burroughs) was about a mutual friend who murdered a lover, and so forth. It became so well-known that the publisher insisted he use different character names in each book to prevent legal trouble for anyone involved, but they can still be decoded easily.