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Lonesome Traveler (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Jack Kerouac
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Aug 2000

A timeless travelogue from the leading light of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac's Lonesome Traveller is a jubilant celebration of human discovery, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Kerouac records, in prose of pure poetry, life on the road. Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat nightlife in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacré-Coeur - Kerouac reveals both the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment.

Jack Kerouac (1922-69) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. His first published novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that made Kerouac famous. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Subterraneans, Big Sur, and The Dharma Bums. Kerouac died in Florida at the age of forty-seven.

If you enjoyed Lonesome Traveller, you might like Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Piquant writing, the best part of its flavour being ... the hunt for the big experience, a touch of Hemingway and Whitman'

Guardian

'Full of startling and beautiful things ... one sees, hears and feels'

Sunday Times


Frequently Bought Together

Lonesome Traveler (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics) + Big Sur (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price For All Three: 20.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (3 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141184906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141184906
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where, he said, he 'roamed fields and riverbanks by day and night, wrote little novels in my room, first novel written at age eleven, also kept extensive diaries and "newspapers" covering my own-invented horse-racing and baseball and football worlds' (as recorded in the novel Doctor Sax). He was educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell. He said that he 'decided to become a writer at age seventeen under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet, who later died on Anzio beach head; read the life of Jack London at eighteen and decided to also be a lonesome traveler; early literary influences Saroyan and Hemingway; later Wolfe (after I had broken leg in Freshman football at Columbia read Tom Wolfe and roamed his New York on crutches).'

Kerouac wished, however, to develop his own new prose style, which he called 'spontaneous prose.' He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat generation of the 1950s. This may clearly be seen in his most famous novel On the Road, and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven.

Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

In this restless, exciting book, Jack Kerouac covers the Los Angeles waterfront, Mexico, New York, Paris and London. He reveals a way of life – the life of the road – and presents his unique philosophy of self-fulfilment. A key Kerouac work, 'Lonesome Traveler' is one of the books that made him the prophet and chronicler of an entire generation.

"Railroad work, sea-work, mysticism, mountain work, solipsism, self-indulgence, bullfights, drugs, churches, streets of cities, a mishmash of life as lived by an independent educated penniless rake going anywhere: 'Lonesome Traveler's' scope and purpose is simply poetry, or natural description."
JACK KEROUAC

"Kerouac's strange mixture of wit, high spirits, incoherence, nobility and odd-ball individualism produces some piquant writing, the best part of its flavour being that peculiarly American strain, the craving for greatness, the hunt for the big experience, a touch of Hemingway and Whitman."
GUARDIAN

"Kerouac has the essentially American gift of describing the physical world so intensely, so poetically, that one sees, hears and feels. 'Lonesome Traveler' is full of startling and beautiful things."
SUNDAY TIMES

"We can be grateful for this reminder of the sense of loss itself, this search for innocence, this prose of observed detail, of high childish delight, of peace and joy and the hymns to the flux and flow and endless diversity of human life"
TLS

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. His most famous novels are On the Road, The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven. Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mere sample of his greater works 22 Sep 2000
Format:Paperback
I read "Lonesome Traveler" straight after reading "On The Road". Of course it would be foolish to expect every book to be of equal merit but, I must tell you, this book isn't as good as it's famous brother. I felt some parts were extremely cumbersome- self-indulgent even. However, Kerouac is undoubtedly a talented writer, so many of the tales are superb. I especially recommend the mountain-top chapter which seems to tie in with another quality Kerouac work "Dharma Bums". In conclusion then, if you didn't enjoy "On the Road", don't read this. If you did however, and are willing to put up with a little trying reading, this book may just be your cup of tea.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top book. 25 April 2001
By Tsun
Format:Paperback
This is a really good book. From working the railroad, to being a fire watcher, to Kerouac's mourning of the lost gentleman hobo culture of the US. This is Jack at his most self indulgent in parts, and most poetic in others. This is one of the lesser known novels but dosn't deserve to be. Pick this one up.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Kerouac Sampler 18 Sep 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Though it has been a while since I have read this book, I found it distressing that there were no reviews of it in this area.
I know very many of you love Kerouac's works and styles, so I hope that this book will be given it's due attention. Its contents are five short stories or sketches that move around the central theme of travel. A sketch about the "railroad earth" written in spontaneous style is quite riveting, and here you will have a chance to read what seems to be an early sketch of the fire tower section from "Dharma Bums".
I hope these suggestions will have you picking up a copy of this wonderful book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneous prose, spontaneous living 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Jack's not for everyone but reading Lonesome Traveler I was teleported right into his shoes-- if you're familiar with Kerouac you know this is his style. His "I" is the one you're with but this "I" is really experiencing every moment-- the minor details of being a train brakeman for instance-- doesn't sound glamorous but it breathes life. It's a bit claustrophobic and frusturasting with his page long sentences but if you forget all the rules of writing and literature you'll surf through a day with him and it's real even if his stories aren't.
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