Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jack Kerouac

This reminiscence from Smithsonian Magazine is as much about an era as it is about the author. 'If the publication of On the Road had not been such a galvanizing event, would 1957 still have been a watershed year—one that would lead directly to the counterculture of the '60s? Change would undoubtedly have come, but not so abruptly. Like Jack's protagonists, young people in America, without even knowing it, had been waiting for some Word. Now a compelling new voice had uncorked all that bottled-up generational restlessness. American culture was at a crossroads: more and more rooftops were bristling with television aerials, but the written word had yet to lose its tremendous power. On the Road hovered at the bottom of the best-seller list for only a few weeks, but through the publicity generated by the burgeoning mass media, "beat" and "Kerouac" instantaneously became household words.' More...

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