Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kerouac—the quintessential Beat writer—is Canadian?

From the you-learn-something-new-every-day file, ArtsJournal points us to an article in the Canadian magazine The Walrus. It turns out that Jack Kerouac is, well, not exactly the sort of all-American I thought he was.

Kerouac’s given name wasn’t Jack; it was Jean-Louis. His mother tongue wasn’t English; it was French. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of immigrants from Quebec; on his mother’s side, he was related to René Lévesque. ... Kerouac grew up speaking the burly, colloquial idiom of a hardscrabble people... a bilingual identity that for much of his life Kerouac chose to hide. More...

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