Originally subtitled "An Adventurous Education, 1935-1946," Vanity of Duluoz
is a key volume in Jack Kerouac's lifework, the series of autobiographical novels he referred to as The Legend of Duluoz
. With the same tender humor and intoxicating wordplay he brought to his masterpieces On the Road
and The Dharma Bums
, Kerouac takes his alter ego from the football fields of small-town New England to the playing fields and classrooms of Horace Mann and Columbia, out to sea on a merchant freighter plying the sub-infested waters of the North Atlantic during World War II, and back to New York, where his friends are the writers who would one day become known as the Beat generation and where he published his first novel.
Written in 1967 from the vantage point ot the psychedelic sixties, Vanity of Duluoz gives a fascinating portrait of the young Kerouac, dedicated and disciplined in his determination from an early age to be an important American writer.