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American Poems: Books: Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
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 Home » Books » Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

  • List Price: $24.95
  • Buy New: $8.18
  • as of 8/22/2014 21:59 EDT details
  • You Save: $16.77 (67%)
In Stock
  • Seller:-Daily Deals-
  • Sales Rank:2,149,587
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Hardcover
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Edition:First Edition
  • Pages:249
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):1
  • Dimensions (in):8.7 x 5.5 x 1
  • Publication Date:November 1, 1999
  • ISBN:0670888222
  • EAN:9780670888221
  • ASIN:0670888222
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Features:
  • Used Book in Good Condition


Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
A powerful insight into the making of a free spirit and literary pioneer

Before Jack Kerouac defined a generation with his 1957 classic On the Road and became one of the most prolific voices of Beat culture, he was learning how to live, and above all, how to write. Atop an Underwood brings together more than sixty previously unpublished early works which Kerouac wrote between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one, ranging from stories and poems to plays and parts of early novels, including an excerpt from his 1943 merchant marine novel, The Sea is My Brother. Readers, scholars, and critics will find in this book a fascinating missing link in Kerouac's development as a writer.

His lifelong themes of America, adventurous travel, spiritual questing, work, family, and sports show their first sign of life in Atop an Underwood. The writings reveal what Kerouac was thinking, doing, and dreaming during his formative years and reflect his early literary influences; readers will also find here the source of his spontaneous prose. In the first words that he ever wrote, Kerouac proves that he was born with a passion for words and for living.
Amazon.com Review
Jack Kerouac's buddy William Burroughs once told an interviewer that Jack had written about a million words by the time he turned 22, and poet and editor Paul Marion publishes 80,000 of them for the first time in Atop an Underwood: jazz reviews written in high school, several rushing headlong poems, short stories (Kerouac dashed off some 200 during his 1941 stint working in a Hartford gas station), essays, radio plays, self-exhortations, an excerpt from the novel The Sea Is My Brother. Marion takes what he calls a "documentary approach," grouping together pieces by period, subject, circumstance of composition. And what emerges from the whole is a terrifically fresh, vivid, and engaging portrait of the Beat artist as a young man.

Kerouac, even in his teens, was riffing on his big themes--the restless quest for meaning along "the marathon alleys of life"; the lonely majesty of "the real, true, America, America in the night"; the fleeting pleasures of love, sex, comradeship, food, and drink; the compulsion to set down his experiences in swift, fluid prose. There are no buried masterpieces or stunning revelations here, but every piece hums with the spontaneity and immediacy of Kerouac's voice. Reading these youthful jottings is like hanging out at one of those all-night bull sessions when Kerouac and his pals "talked about eternity and infinity and the government and Reds and women and things..."

"I will write a play about life as life is and I will wait till it hits me in the face before I write it," he proclaimed when he was 18. "Then I will rush to my typewriter and write it. So hold on to your seats. It will soon come and I feel terrifically exuberated right just now." Atop an Underwood is a record of the many forms that exuberation took during the years when life first started to hit Kerouac in the face. --David Laskin


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