The Haunted Life: and Other Writings

The Haunted Life and Other Writings was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac In March his close friend and literary confidant Sebastian Sampas lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic That

  • Title: The Haunted Life: and Other Writings
  • Author: Jack Kerouac
  • ISBN: 9780306823046
  • Page: 231
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac In March, his close friend and literary confidant, Sebastian Sampas, lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic That spring still reeling with grief over Sebastian Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, offsetting the loss of Sampas by i1944 was a troubled and momentous year for Jack Kerouac In March, his close friend and literary confidant, Sebastian Sampas, lost his life on the Anzio beachhead while serving as a US Army medic That spring still reeling with grief over Sebastian Kerouac solidified his friendships with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, offsetting the loss of Sampas by immersing himself in New York s blossoming mid century bohemia That August, however, Carr stabbed his longtime acquaintance and mentor David Kammerer to death in Riverside Park, claiming afterwards that he had been defending his manhood against Kammerer s persistent and unwanted advances Kerouac was originally charged in Kammerer a killing as an accessory after the fact as a result of his aiding Carr in disposing of the murder weapon and Kammerer s eyeglasses Consequently, Kerouac was jailed in August 1944 and married his first wife, Edie Parker, on the twenty second of that month in order to secure the money he needed for his bail bond Eventually the authorities accepted Carr s account of the killing, trying him instead for manslaughter and thus nullifying the charges against Kerouac At some point later in the year under circumstances that remain rather mysterious the aspiring writer lost a novella length manuscript titled The Haunted Life, a coming of age story set in Kerouac s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts.Kerouac set his fictional treatment of Peter Martin against the backdrop of the everyday the comings and goings of the shopping district, the banter and braggadocio that occurs within the smoky atmospherics of the corner bar, the drowsy sound of a baseball game over the radio Peter is heading into his sopho year at Boston College, and while home for the summer in Galloway he struggles with the pressing issues of his day the economic crisis of the previous decade and what appears to be the impending entrance of the United States into the Second World War The other principal characters, Garabed Tourian and Dick Sheffield, are based respectively on Sebastian Sampas and fellow Lowellian Billy Chandler, both of whom had already died in combat by the time of Kerouac s drafting of The Haunted Life providing some of the impetus for its title Garabed is a leftist idealist and poet, with a pronounced tinge of the Byronic Dick is a romantic adventurer whose wanderlust has him poised to leave Galloway for the wider world with or without Peter The Haunted Life also contains a compelling and controversial portrayal of Jack s father, Leo Kerouac, recast as Joe Martin Opposite of Garabed s progressive, New Deal persepctive, Joe is a right wing and bigoted populist, and an ardent admirer of radio personality Father Charles Coughlin The conflicts of the novella are primarily intellectual, then, as Peter finds himself suspended between the differing views of history, politics, and the world embodied by the other three characters, and struggles to define what he believes to be intellectually true and worthy of his life and talents.The Haunted Life, skillfully edited by University of Massachusetts at Lowell Assistant Professor of English Todd F Tietchen, is rounded out by sketches, notes, and reflections Kerouac kept during the novella s composition, as well as a revealing selection of correspondence with his father, Leo Kerouac.
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      Published :2019-04-01T13:12:07+00:00

    341 Comment

    • Jim Cherry says:

      There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost. Ernest Hemingway famously lost the only draft of the first short stories he ever wrote on a French train. Most writers have ‘lost’ manuscripts, conspicuously placed in quotes because those stories for whatever reason the writer has are socked away until after their deaths (interestingly Hemingway also falls into this category). Kerouac’s “The Haunted Life” falls into the category of the truly lost. He [...]

    • Mat says:

      Oh Jack - how I miss thee.First of all, the story behind how this manuscript disappeared is fascinating. It seems like it was left in a dormitory closet, probably Allen Ginsberg's old room but I prefer the more 'romantic' story of how it was left and lost in a downtown taxi by Kerouac, doing laps of the city in the back seat of a cab. This is one of the earliest books Kerouac wrote. In the past 20 years, there have been a string of new publications by JK, including Some of the Dharma, Orpheus Em [...]

    • T4ncr3d1 says:

      Che portento Jack Kerouac. Ogni anno salta fuori qualche manoscritto ritrovato, che sposta sempre più indietro l'asticella dell'avvio della sua attività letteraria. In questo caso, come spiega già chiaramente la sinossi del libro, La vita stregata doveva costituire la prima parte del successivo romanzo La città e la metropoli, primo a tutti gli effetti romanzo pubblicato da Kerouac.La vicenda del suo ritrovamento aggiunge colore a questo libro, ma spogliandolo del valore editoriale, eliminan [...]

    • Kevin Kizer says:

      When it comes to new releases from the Kerouac estate, I'm sorry to say I believe we've reached the Bukowski Point.* Right now, as I glance at my bookshelves, I count over 50 books either by or about Kerouac and I have a hard time believing anything new or interesting has yet to come to light. While Kerouac was a prolific writer, how much more can be mined from this vein? Well, as it turns out there still some more good stuff out there. "The Haunted Life and Other Writings" is a manuscript that [...]

    • Elliott Robert says:

      Derivative is a criticism thrown about far too often and quite often I find myself at disagreing with its usage, this novella is a case in point. People quite frequently ignore pre "on the road" Kerouac as a pale imitation of Thomas Wolfe and the other authors Kerouac greatly admired, but to do so does the work no justice. The Haunted Life is a work so truthful it is bitter sweet. When reading the novella you immediately identify each character as someone you know in your own life and their acti [...]

    • Matt says:

      Any new Kerouac is cause for celebration. Reading this unfinished novella from 1944, one meets again the young Jack, trying to determine the kind of writer he will be. In a diary entry from 09/03/45, indicating that someone had asked him what he was looking for in his writing, he records his reply as being "a new methode vision I do have, it's the method I wante vision cannot be expressed without the method."There are some beautiful, lyrical passages in this book, foreshadowings of what would co [...]

    • Reid says:

      Got this at the library, but I'd like to own it and read it again sometime, mostly for his "sketches and reflections" - which give further insight and explanations of his ideas for The Town and the City (of which The Haunted Life is pretty much a lost early unfinished rendition) and ideas for his future projects - and also for the several letters from his father, Leo, which are great to read. They show similar interests and themes as Jack's, and reveal what had to be, earlier, a fairly formative [...]

    • Tiffany says:

      I have mixed feelings. The prose is fantastic and I loved the main character but I wish Kerouac wasn't so dismissive of the female characters in the novel. I realize it was the early 1940s so what can you expect, but it still bothered me. In some of the non-fiction writings at the end of the book he expressed some philosophies that I am opposed to, including some borderline racist sympathizing. It's almost like I wish I hadn't read it. Now I plan to go back and read some of my Kerouac favorites [...]

    • Melissa D'andrea says:

      It was a good introspective on Jack's beginning as a writer, and I was glad to learn more about Leo Kerouac, Jack's Father. Like the title suggests, the stories in this book have a darkness to them, but I enjoyed it, as any Kerouac fan will.

    • David Rullo says:

      Mostly notes and unfinished ideas. A great way to peer into the early thoughts, styles and writings of Kerouac. His relationship with his father is the focal point, even though it isn't central in the Martin Family story presented.

    • Benjamin Stahl says:

      For what this was - the unfinished first part of an unfinished novel, I believe - it was very good. Too good, actually in the sense that I could not help but feel disappointed when it came to an end just as it seemed to be starting. It's such a shame, reading through Kerouac's included notes, that his Galloway or Haunted Life - (an intended American classic) - never saw the light of day. The tranquil suburban setting of Lowell was wonderful. The complexity of the characters, even in the first f [...]

    • Robert Connah says:

      First time reading any Kerouac but it certainly won't be my last. As the same age as the protagonist there was no better time to read this coming of age story. Parallels can certainly be made between the political situation then and now; with FDR certainly appearing to have split opinion as Trump does now. Kerouac's novel The Town and the City is continually referenced throughout and I will be checking this out very soon! The edition I read contained some of Kerouac's diary entry's including let [...]

    • Þróndr says:

      The reason I liked this book is not so much because of the novella-length manuscript itself, but for what it conveys about young Kerouac. And in addition to that, the Sketches (in Part II) are planning documents that elaborates on the themes and structure of the novel of which this manuscript was to be only the first part. And finally, the last section focuses on his father Leo and Jack's relationship with him, and includes several letters written by Leo. Contrary to what is often believed, Jack [...]

    • Belinda says:

      I was super excited when I found this in the library--it's not every day you come across "new" work by Kerouac. The book is a collection of sketches, novellas, journal entries and letters. The first part of the book is what I would classify a novella--it is a literally "lost" work --meaning Kerouac thought he left it in a cab and it was missing for many years. It was eventually found in what was Ginsberg's dorm room at Columbia by an incoming student. This piece is early Kerouac--more linear, mo [...]

    • Smiley McGrouchpants says:

      This lost-and-now-found novella by Jack Kerouac performs a small miracle: somehow, in a space of a few day's time, basking with the characters, you get a vivid, fixed in space-and-time sense of a "middle-of-the-pendulum-swing" position.Through backstories relayed through offhand conversation, daily rituals making you feel at home amongst the clutter, and a high literary pedigree for the high-falutin' college-age protagonists, Kerouac provides a literary feast — deftly handled in a just-over-70 [...]

    • Danny Daley says:

      This short novella was just the second book Kerouac wrote, but was lost for many years and only recently published. Although the prose is a bit generic in style, and features little of the dissonant prose that made Kerouac famous, the story itself is actually fantastic. It suffers from some elementary undertones, especially in the ways that Kerouac tries to demonstrate his own learned and cultured perspectives through his characters, as though he were using them to brag about himself, but even t [...]

    • James Holloway says:

      Given this is his first attempt at a novel, Kerouac's prose is unsurprisingly immature and uninspiring. He clearly has a lot of great ideas, but tends to tell us them all through over-written monologues rather than showing them to us via the actions of his characters - as he would so aptly come to master in his later novels. The writing does pick up in the final third, particularly with the introduction of Dick who is pleasantly reminiscent of Dean Moriarty, and it is around this point that Kero [...]

    • Martyn Coppack says:

      full review here at kafkascage

    • Tyson Heck says:

      I'm not finished. I only read through page 99, where The Haunted Life ends. But I wanted to get some thoughts out while they were still fresh in my mind. The Haunted Life (pgs. 1-99)What is it about Jack Kerouac that makes me feel so untamed? So primitive? Whenever I pick up a book of his, I want to free myself from everything and just go somewhere with no real plan and no real intention of doing anything except living. It doesn't even matter if the story is really about that concept; Kerouac ha [...]

    • Borce says:

      I am Peter Martin. I found it uncanny how many similarities he and I shared, at the characters age and even now; the deep feeling of wanderlust, not truly knowing what to do in life (or how many things to do) & collecting relics from past adventures - I am Peter Martin. Kerouac's prose was detailed, yet not overly so (like Thoreau in Walden) and made the story very enjoyable to read. It was also very strange and a bit enlightening to read the first few pages of the story when Peter's father, [...]

    • Dewey says:

      While lots of notable Kerouac novels have garnered my interest, one that has not is The Town and the City. Too domestic sounding. And my instinct for disinterest was not too far off: I didn't get past chapter one. But I decided to give it three stars because I found the introduction invaluable in shedding life on Kerouac's early development, and even if this novella is rough around the edges, unpolished and so domestically boring, the approach this introduction takes does a lot to prove that Ker [...]

    • David says:

      Well what can I say that hasn't already been said about Kerouac? Maybe I'll just say exactly what I feel! His ever so frequent racial overtones [something he captured of his time and generation, better than anyone else] and straight-to-your-jaw opinions through proxy are on full display in this book, as always.

    • Brendan says:

      This is one of the better collections of Kerouac ephemera, organized around an incomplete Wolfeian novella from 1944. Thoughtfully arranged, with all supplemental material relating directly to the work at hand.

    • Steve says:

      A great insight into the mind of the king of the Beat Generation.

    • Jason says:

      Recently finished The Haunted Life and enjoyed it quite a bit.A section from The Haunted Life Part 1 e cool swishing song of the trees: a music sweeter than anything else in the world, a music that can be seen-profusely green, leaf on leaf, atremble-and a music that can be smelled, clover fresh, somehow sharp, and supremely rich.I found this book very interesting because it provides Kerouac fans with the missing novella that preceded Town and City and I really enjoyed the letters from Jack's fat [...]

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Don't bother, simple as that.

    • Nell says:

      The letters of Leo Kerouac are a great inclusion.

    • Benjamin King says:

      I haven't read any other Kerouac works, and I hope they are better than this. This novel features rushed character introductions/back-stories, the last chapter seems VERY rushed and the actual "lost book" section goes from pages 29-99 (70 total).The first ~30 pages is an introduction from the editor explaining Jack Kerouac's literary and personal life at the time, how Kerouac wrote his drafts and how this book wasn't actually completed by Jack Kerouac. It takes up this much space because the Tod [...]

    • Bill says:

      I've discussed this book individually with a few folks from time to time during my reading of it, and in each discussion, I eventually find myself ending at the exact same point: as far as writing goes, this book is nothing to brag about from Kerouac. However, for someone like myself who has read nearly everything else he has written, this is a very important insight into his formative writing years. So, if you haven't ever read any Kerouac in the past, and you want to know what all the fuss is [...]

    • Brendan Booth says:

      whenever an author's work enjoys renewed popularity several decades after their death, there always seems to be lost manuscripts that bubble to the surface. sometimes, these lost manuscripts provide great insight into the development of the author's style, and sometimes, these lost manuscripts are put out for the sole purpose of cashing in on the dead author's career revitalization. sadly, this book is the latterrouac's writing here is very hacky and reads more like a high school freshman's writ [...]

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