Synopses & Reviews
A deluxe edition of Kerouac?s masterpiece on the 50th anniversary of its first publication
First published in 1958, a year after On the Road had put the Beat generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac?s most powerful, influential, and bestselling novels. The story focuses on two untrammeled young Americans?mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer?whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco?s Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras to Ray?s sixty-day vigil by himself atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Primary to this evocative and soulful novel is an honest, exuberant search for an affirmative way of life in the midst of the atomic age. In many ways, The Dharma Bums also presaged the environmental, back-to-the-land, and American Buddhist movements of the 1960s and beyond.
The Dharma Bums was published one year after On the Road made Jack Kerouac a celebrity and a spokesperson for the Beat Generation. Sparked by his contagious zest for life, the novel relates the adventures of an ebullient group of Beatnik seekers in a freewheeling exploration of Buddhism and the search for Truth.
Two ebullient young men search for truth the Zen way: from marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and "yabyum" in San Francisco's Bohemia to solitude in the high Sierras and a vigil atop Desolation Peak in Washington State.
About the Author
was born in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and attended Columbia University in New York City, where he met Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Vikings publication of On the Road
in 1957 made him one of the best-known authors of his time. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969, at the age of forty-seven.
Ann Douglas is Parr Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University and currently at work on a book about Cold War culture.