Biography Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

photo of Jack Kerouac
  • Time Period1922 - 1969
  • PlaceBoston
  • CountryUnited States

Poet Biography

Born Jean-Louis Kerouac, on March 12, 1922 in working-class Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac was of French-Canadian decent. The youngest of three children, he was heartbroken when his older brother Gerard died of rheumatic fever at the age of nine.

He grew up learning English as a second language. He joined the Navy where he was soon discharged due to being disagnosed as a schizoid personality. Soon after, he became a merchant seaman and then decided on the life of a vagabond. This lifestyle gave him inspiration for his later novels.

His first book was published in 1950 and titled The Town and the City. After studying briefly at Columbia University, he achieved fame with his spontaneous and unconventional prose, particularly the novelOn the Road (1957). This book was written in less than three weeks and demonstrated a fresh style. This new writing was spontaneous and seemed to be at times unedited. It possessed a strange energy that shocked more established writers but only brought Kerouac well-deserved recognition

After the success of this work Kerouac produced a series of similar novels, including The Dharma Bums and The Subterraneans (both 1958), Doctor Sax (1959), Lonesome Traveler (1960), and Big Sur (1962). His works are believed to be of a autobiographical nature, reflecting warm but stormy relationships and a deep social disillusionment assuaged by drugs, alcohol, mysticism, and biting humor.

Jack Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida Oct. 21, 1969