Monday, March 10, 2014

"The Haunted Life," an early Jack Kerouac novella, is published 70 years later

                                                           The Haunted Life

The Allen Ginsberg Project reports that a long-lost Kerouac manuscript is being published in time for the author's birthday on March 12:

Published this past Tuesday in the UK by Penguin and this coming Thursday in the US by Da Capo Press, and edited by respected Beat scholar, Todd Tietchen - The Haunted Life - a previously-unpublished, only-recently rediscovered, short (19,ooo word) novella by Jack Kerouac, seventy years after it was written, finally gets to see the light of day.

Written when he was only twenty-two and attending Columbia, lost almost immediately (Kerouac left his only hand-written final draft in a New York taxi-cab), re-surfacing thirteen years later in a Columbia University dormitory, and then in 2002 on the auction block at Sotheby's, post-The Town and the City, pre-On The Road, The Haunted Life has had an unsual (to say the least) progress to publication.

As Penguin publicity proudly declare it - "Now, 70 years after Kerouac wrote it, his second novel will be published for the first time..."

The Haunted Life was originally conceived as part of a longer work (tentatively titled An American Passed Here, the coming-of-age story of  (Kerouac-surrogate) "Peter Martin" in the fictional town of "Galloway" (based, recognizeably, on Lowell).

The novella is rounded out, in this edition, by sketches, notes and observations kept during the time of its composition, and with a revealing selection of correspondence between Kerouac and his father, Leo.

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