A post-whitmaned world : Jack Kerouac and his canon of transgression
Rodrigues, Crispin Cyril-Wardley
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Filled with references to jazz, drugs, pop culture and spiritual epiphanies, the works of Jack Kerouac draw both criticism and praise as autobiographical fiction. This paper aims to reach a compromise of these extreme perspectives of his oeuvre by pointing out the transgressive elements in his work, such as the metaphor of speed and his ambition of a Buddhist-Catholic spiritual amalgamation, while understanding his shortfalls. By following Kerouac’s prompt of seeking a “post-Whitman America” (qtd. in Leland 17), this paper charts Kerouac’s own canon of literary heroes and through the lens of Kerouac as a late Modernist writer who is skeptical towards Modernist experimentation, situates him as a figure on the cusp of Postmodern thinking.