Kerouac in Ecstasy

Shamanic Expression in the Writings


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About the Book

This critical text considers Jack Kerouac as writer-shaman, exploring the content and ecstatic technique of the novels and two experimental volumes that represent critical phases of his development. Thomas Bierowski also examines the reception of Kerouac’s work, arguing that his rise and fall reflect not only the usual changes in literary taste but the precarious position of the shamanic figure in modern America.

About the Author(s)

Thomas R. Bierowski is an associate professor of English at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania. He is a writer, performer and graphic artist.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas R. Bierowski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5967-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8552-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations      viii
Preface      1
Introduction: Kerouac in Ecstasy      3

1. Visions of Gerard: Modern Hagiography      29
2. The Shrouds of Eternity: Doctor Sax as Shamanic Journey      42
3. Visions of Cody: “Kidnapped, Shanghaied, and Orphaned”      73
4. The Subterraneans as Nadiral Ecstasy      99
5. “In-stasy” and the Book of Dreams      122
6. Old Angel Midnight: “Space Prose for the Future”      144
7. Big Sur and the Memoir of Disintegration      153
8. Conclusion: “Be Lamps Unto Thyselves”      179

Chapter Notes      187
Bibliography      197
Index      201