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Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954 [Paperback]

Douglas Brinkley
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954 + On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (30 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143036068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143036067
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

This is a selection of Kerouac's journals that provide further insight into the man behind the words. Jack Kerouac is best-known through the image he put forth in his autobiographical novels. Yet it is only his private journals, in which he set down the raw material of his life and thinking, that reveal to readers the real Kerouac. In "Windblown World", distinguished academic Douglas Brinkley has gathered a selection of journal entries from the most pivotal period in Kerouac's life - 1947 to 1954. Here is Kerouac as a hungry young writer finishing his first novel while forging crucial relationships with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Neal Cassady. Truly a self-portrait of the artist as a young man, this unique and indispensable volume is sure to become an integral element of the Beat oeuvre.

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First Sentence
These meticulous logs of Kerouac's progress on his first novel, The Town and the City, filled most of two journals, running from June 1947 to September 1948, when Kerouac completed the manuscript. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Pitoucat VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Kerouac began keeping journals in 1936, and continued for the rest of his life. The journals survive and editor Brinkley, writing in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998, promised us publication of "a multi-volume edition." Now it seems that all we will be getting is this 370-page book, covering only some of the material from the years 1947 to 1950, and with just a few pages from 1954 thrown in as extra.

The parts that have been selected for inclusion are apparently aimed at demonstrating the development of Kerouac's first two major works, The Town & the City, and On the Road. Strange, then, that nothing from Kerouac's 1948-49 journal of work on the latter book is included, although some of it did appear as a taster in the extracts Brinkley selected for publication in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998. That must surely be one of the most relevant journals for those interested in the development of On the Road and its omission here is a mystery. (Note: Although not in the hardback edition, Kerouac's On the Road journal has been added as a "postscript" to the paperback edition of this book.) Other journal extracts published in Atlantic, and also in the New Yorker in 1998, are missing from the published book.

In his introduction, it seems to me that Brinkley places far too much emphasis on demolishing the "myth" that On the Road was frantically written in three weeks in April 1951, claiming that Kerouac had begun it much earlier. This may be news to Brinkley, but I'm sure that most Kerouac readers are already aware of that fact. They will have known it since Tim Hunt pointed out that Kerouac began working on the book in 1948, attempting at least five different versions over the next four years.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Miracle 15 Oct 2004
By Kenneth M. Goodman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's beyond amazing that, after all these years, after all

Kerouac's work: novels, poetry, letters, etc. have long been

available...that suddenly a brand new book appears...and it's

beyond great. It's up there with anything he ever wrote.

If you love Kerouac, make getting this book #1 on your list.

If I may offer one brief quote (on page 12) on the subject

of maturity: "...the flashing exhilirated maddening discoveries

and truths of youth, the ones that turn young men into visionary

demons and make them unhappy and happier than ever all at once--

the truths later dropped with the condescension of "maturity"--

these truths come back in true maturity, maturity being nothing

less than disciplined earnestness--"

The book is LOADED with cool stuff like that.

Even though I'm not a Christian, all Kerouac's writing about

Jesus in these journals don't bother me, because he's writing from an ENLIGHTENED perspective. We are truly lucky that Jack Kerouac existed on Earth; and all those lunkhead critics who

dumped their ignorant bad reviews on him all those years ago

have been proven to be morons.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comedown, Sorrow, and Truest Love 23 Dec 2004
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Two of Kerouac's journals, published together and finally available for the lay reader to pick up and delve into. Editor Douglas Brinkley does a fine job putting this material into context, even if he makes overstated claims for it, and even if he seems so needlessly to kiss John Sampas' ass, even dedicating this book to him among others of his cohort. We learn a lot about Kerouac from these journals, a lot that's valuable and a lot that shows us just why so many fell in love with his mind and his thoughtful, sometimes halting way of proceeding, always trying to do the right thing despite innumerable obstacles. I think also he had a natural inclination to be sort of the bad boy, and then he had the spectre of his dead brother acting on him as a kind of good angel always steering him right. With utmost seriousness he tried to plot out his life and his course of spiritual action; of course, as we see, women, booze, guys, and wanderlust got in his way, caused him to stray from the path.

His very earnestness however is endearing: "This is why life is holy," he states on pg. 211 (think of the irony on top of which such a statement would be laden today by Kerouac's so-called successors), "Because it is not a lonely accident. Therefore, again, we must love and be reverent of one another, till the day when we are all angels looking back." He sounds an apocalyptic note: "Those who are not reverent now may be the most reverent then (in their other, electrical, spiritual form.) Will there be a Judgement Day? No need to judge the living or the dead: only the happy and the unhappy with tears of pity." Kerouac seems to have seen clearly what escapes all of us but the most enlightened, that we are all creatures of sorrow and of what he calls "electricity," the charge that makes us human.

But not all of WINDBLOWN WORLD is so solemn, there are some hilarious tidbits and routines, such as the curriculum JK develops in October 1949 (pp. 226-28) for a kind of "New College for Comedians," with imaginary courses that might be given by Burroughs "How to Play the Horses" and Huncke: "Modern Drugs." His own courses were more poetic: "Riddles and Roses" and "The Myth of the Rainy Night." The requirements to get into the school? "Sixty points in elementary realization, largesse, comedown, sorrow, and truest love."
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing publication after grandiose promises 9 Sep 2006
By Pitoucat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kerouac began keeping journals in 1936, and continued for the rest of his life. The journals survive and editor Brinkley, writing in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998, promised us publication of "a multi-volume edition." Now it seems that all we will be getting is this 370-page book, covering only some of the material from the years 1947 to 1950, and with just a few pages from 1954 thrown in as extra.

The parts that have been selected for inclusion are apparently aimed at demonstrating the development of Kerouac's first two major works, The Town & the City, and On the Road. Strange, then, that nothing from Kerouac's 1948-49 journal of work on the latter book is included, although some of it did appear as a taster in the extracts Brinkley selected for publication in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998. That must surely be one of the most relevant journals for those interested in the development of On the Road and its omission here is a mystery. (Note: Although not in the hardback edition, Kerouac's On the Road journal has been added as a "postscript" to the paperback edition of this book.) Other journal extracts published in Atlantic, and also in the New Yorker in 1998, are missing from the published book.

In his introduction, it seems to me that Brinkley places far too much emphasis on demolishing the "myth" that On the Road was frantically written in three weeks in April 1951, claiming that Kerouac had begun it much earlier. This may be news to Brinkley, but I'm sure that most Kerouac readers are already aware of that fact. They will have known it since Tim Hunt pointed out that Kerouac began working on the book in 1948, attempting at least five different versions over the next four years. Hunt published this information, with extracts from the earlier attempts, in his PhD thesis in 1975, and in his book, Kerouac's Crooked Road, in 1981.

There's no doubt that Kerouac DID write the version that eventually became the published On the Road in a three-week burst on a scroll of paper in April 1951. However, examination of the scroll reveals that it differs somewhat from the published version, with the insertion of material from his journals being added LATER, at a more leisurely pace, when Kerouac retyped it onto separate pages.

What we have in this volume makes fascinating reading, of course, and offers a little more insight into Kerouac's mind, and his working practices. Brinkley admits to editing the journals heavily in places, and also to mixing together parts from different journals, with no clear indication of the individual sources. The result of this can only be confusion.

This book has been six years in the making. I imagine that all Kerouac scholars and enthusiasts who have been waiting patiently for its appearance will need a copy, and will find the contents valuable. However, I do believe that an important opportunity has been missed to make this the truly outstanding work it could have been.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing, Not Typing 3 Jun 2008
By CultFilmFreaksDotCom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wow this book is really incredible. It's like diving into the soul of Kerouac before he decided he didn't want to have commas or periods. Mind you I like DR SAX and DESOLATION ANGELS and his other crazily spontaneous novels that had dashes instead of periods, but I gotta say, I enjoy ON THE ROAD and DHARMA BUMS, and this book is great because it's Kerouac writing in a style that is simple to read and you really get to see what a truly great writer and philosopher he was, and he shares a lot about the book he's writing TOWN AND THE CITY which is a masterpeice (a book that gets better the further you read). And how he is set apart from his friends. As talented as they were, including Ginsberg, in my opinion: Jack stood alone, and this book is all about that: standing alone.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical, lighthearted, fascinating 12 May 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best books I've ever read. To read about Kerouac and his thoughts and his struggles as he tries to make it is thoroughly enjoyable. It's fun to listen as he ponders and have a look inside him as he tries to make a living writing. I couldn't put it down.
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