Jack Kerouac, the American novelist and author of The Dharma Bums, Big Sur and On the Road was a significant member of the postwar “Beat Generation” of American authors. On the Road stands alongside Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and William S Burroughs’s Naked Lunch in the Beat pantheon.
In this week’s issue of the New Statesman, Olivia Laing reviews hitherto unpublished Kerouac’s first novel, The Sea Is My Brother, written in 1943, shortly after Kerouac’s first tour as a merchant marine. Aboard a ship named Voyage to Greenland, Kerouac kept a journal which would shape much of the lost novel. According to Laing, The Sea Is My Brother “shows that [Kerouac’s] gifts, and flaws, developed early”.
In this clip from an episode of William F Buckley’s Firing Line from 1968, a drunked Kerouac puffs on a cigar while discussing the hippie movement with Ed Sanders of the counter-cultural band the Fugs and the academic Lewis Yablonsky.