In his prolific correspondence, Jack Kerouac set down the raw material of the life that he would later transmute into his multi-volume "Legend of Duluoz", he also refined the seemingly freewheeling and spontaneous prose style that became his trademark. The collection of letters in this volume were written between 1940, when Kerouac was a college freshman and 1956, immediately before he became a celebrity with the publication of "On the Road". They offer insights into Kerouac's family life, friendships, travels, love affairs and literary apprenticeship.
Jack Kerouac is one of America's most influential literary figures. On the Road begot the Beat Generation, which ushered in the hippie movement, then free love, then drugs and so on and so on. Yet the real Kerouac bore little resemblance to this enduring image as an open-road rebel and spokesman of the Beats. He was a lover of women and wine, all right, but also a sad, confused romantic who longed for acceptance and often viewed life with a child's perspective. By capturing his emotions in his personal writings, Selected Letters helps shed light on a figure who was as troubled as he was rebellious.