Jack Kerouac (1922-69)

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Kerouac, Jack (1922-69), American writer, the first to use the term Beat Generation in reference to the group of 1950s American writers, including himself, who rejected mainstream society through their unconventional writings and alternative lifestyles. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. A leader of the Beat Generation, Kerouac was noted for On the Road (1957), a loosely structured and mostly autobiographical account of the Beat experience in America. The Dharma Bums (1958) is a more conventional novel, on the theme of self-fulfillment through Zen Buddhism. Big Sur (1962), the sequel to On the Road, describes the retreat of a Beat leader to the California coast, where he attempts to put his life together. Kerouac also wrote poetry (Mexico City Blues, 1959) and travel pieces (Lonesome Traveler, 1960).

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