Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

English

Date of Award

5-2008

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Mark Holland

Committee Members

Thomas A. Holmes, Thomas H. Crofts

Abstract

With the publication of On the Road in 1957, Jack Kerouac became a cultural phenomenon. Crowned the "King" of the Beat Generation, Kerouac embodied the restlessness of Cold War-era America. What no one realized at the time, however, was that the movement that he supposedly led went against Kerouac's own beliefs. Rather than rebellion, Kerouac wanted to write in a way that no one had written before. Heavily influenced by, among others, Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Marcel Proust, Herman Melville, and, especially, James Joyce, Kerouac used the influence of his predecessors to formulate his own style of writing-spontaneous prose. The critics who label Kerouac as a cultural icon akin to James Dean fail to see Kerouac as a serious author. The removal of the cultural fanfare surrounding Kerouac shows the truth about his writing, his influences, and his influence on late-twentieth century literature, including the entire postmodern movement.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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