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Jack Kerouac typescript drafts for Beat Traveler

Collection Data

The collection comprises two untitled and undated typescript drafts written by Jack Kerouac, narrating his travel experiences in Europe in 1957, and his trip from Los Angeles, California to Mexico in 1956.These were written, at least in part, for his unfinished novel Beat Traveler, although elements would later appear in Lonesome Traveler and Desolation Angels. The texts are typed single-space on five sheets of paper, rolled together in the form of a scroll. The interior piece (two leaves) recalls the end of his 1957 tour of Europe, and his return home from England as a third-class passenger on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam, departing from Southampton. Each page is a different working of an opening, with a common incident involving the disrespect shown to Kerouac by the ship's dining-room staff because of his appearance. The text is typescript on rectos only; the verso of the first leaf bears Kerouac's pencilled note "BT False Starts," with "BT Rejects" similarly noted on the recto of the second leaf, numbered 2. The outer piece recounts his trip from Los Angeles to Mexico City via Tucson and Nogales in October 1956, ironically noting the money and fame that his writings would bring him "in the next brief 3 years." The text is typescript on the rectos of three leaves numbered 1 to 3 by Kerouac; the verso of the second leaf carries his two-line typed reworking of text on the recto.
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1960 (Approximate)
Library locations
Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature
Shelf locator: Berg Coll 24898
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 -- Travel
Authors, American -- 20th century
Beats (Persons)
Scrolls (Visual works)
Content: Text beginning: "What happened is always simply what happened,...." Two unlined sheets, the first torn across the top, 35 x 22 cm; the second, beginning "The world is sad enough....," trimmed, 29 x 22 cm.
Content: Text beginning: "and so in october 1956 i had just enuf money to take a bus down to mexico city...." Three sheets of lined yellow loose-leaf paper, 32 x 21 cm.
Acquisition: Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 2019
Biographical/historical: Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was an American Beat novelist, essayist, and poet. Kerouac mentioned plans to write a novel called Beat Traveler as early as 1958, but it was only in January 1960 that he began working on it in earnest. His letter of February 20, 1960 to poet Allen Ginsberg noted that he had made four "false starts on Beat Traveler, about 40,000 words in all, rolled them up and put them away...." A collection of travel writings, some previously published, appeared as Lonesome Traveler later that year.
Physical Description
Extent: .17 linear feet (1 custom document box)
Extent: Five leaves 35 x 22 cm or smaller rolled to 22 x 4 cm.
Type of Resource
RLIN/OCLC: 1124929241
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b21791719
MSS Unit ID: 24898
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6e3fa160-e202-0137-cb95-315892d2d34f
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