(1922 - 1969) U.S.A.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouak had a working-class, French-Canadian backround and did not begin to speak English until he went to school at age of six. He moved to New York City in 1939, attending Horace Mann Prep School for a year before going to Columbia University and a football scholarship. After leaving Columbia in 1942 he joined the merchant marines, then enlisted in the US Navy but was discharged on psychiatric ground.
He epitomized the "Beat generation" of the 1950s. Kerouac went on the road with Neal Cassady, with whom he was in love, creating the "Beat way of life" that involved a rejection of bourgeois values and a search for spiritual values. Even though he married twice, Kerouac had a number of male lovers including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Gore Vidal, but both his relationships with men and with women were doomed.
Jack Duluoz, king of the beatniks, is the hero of his books, including On the Road (1958), and Big Sur (1963). An alcoholic, Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, at age 47, from complications related to his addiction.
Go to Kerouac's Haiku Page"