Synopses & Reviews
Before Jack Kerouac expressed the spirit of a generation in his 1957 classic, On the Road, he spent years figuring out how he wanted to live and, above all, learning how to write. Atop an Underwood brings together more than sixty previously unpublished works that Kerouac wrote before he was twenty-two, ranging from stories and poems to plays and parts of novels, including an excerpt from his 1943 merchant marine novel, The Sea Is My Brother. These writings reveal what Kerouac was thinking, doing, and dreaming during his formative years, and reflect his primary literary influences. Readers will also find in these works the source of Kerouac's spontaneous prose style.
Uncovering a fascinating missing link in Kerouac's development as a writer, Atop an Underwood is essential reading for Kerouac fans, scholars, and critics.
Table of Contents
Part one: Pine forests and pure thought 1963-1940. Repulsion may race here in exhibition feature!! -- Jack Lewis's Baseball Chatter -- One long strange dream -- Count Baasie's band best in land; group famous for "solid" swing -- Go back -- Nothing -- A play I want to write -- Concentration -- We thronged -- A day in September -- I know I am August -- Radio script : the spirit of '14 -- I remember the days of my youth -- Where the road begins -- New York nite club-- ; Part two: An original kicker 1941. There's something about a cigar -- God -- If I were wealthy -- One Sunday afternoon in July -- The birth of a socialist -- No connection : a novel that I don't intend to finish -- On the porch, remembering -- The sandbank sage -- Farewell song, sweet from my trees -- I have to pull up my stakes and roll, man -- Odyssey (continued) -- At 18, I suddenly discovered the delight of rebellion -- Observations -- Definition of a poet -- America in the night -- Woman going to Hartford -- Old love-light -- I tell you it is October! -- Here I am at last with a typewriter -- Atop an underwood : introduction -- The good jobs -- From Radio City to the Crown -- --Little cottage by the sea-- -- The juke box is saving America -- --Hartford after work-- -- --Legends and legends-- -- --A Kerouac that turned out sublime-- -- The father of my father -- Credo -- --Hungry young writer's notebook-- -- A young writer's notebook -- I am going to stress a new set of values -- I am my mother's son -- Howdy! -- Today -- This I do know-- -- Search by night ; Part three: To portray life accurately 1942-1943. Sadness at six -- The joy of Duluoz -- Famine for the heart -- The very thing I live for -- The mystery -- Thinking of Thomas Wolfe on a winter's night -- Beauty as a lasting truth.