Sarah Haynes – “An Exploration of Jack Kerouac’s Buddhism: Text and Life” (2005)

July 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm (Jack Kerouac, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

Taken from Contemporary Buddhism Vol. 6, No. 2 by Sarah Haynes…



Jack Kerouac’s place in the literary world was secured in the 1950s with the publication of On the Road; however, his position as a Buddhist writer and practitioner was yet to be established. This paper examines his Buddhist life and texts, and explores two of his Buddhist books while focusing on his influences, their effects on his personal life and the impact these had on his writing and on Buddhism in America. Kerouac’s ‘Buddhist’ texts are not as well known as his others, although many of his more popular books include elements of Buddhism. The two Kerouac texts that are to be explored here are Some of the Dharma and The Scripture of the Golden Eternity. While the focus of this paper is on the exploration of these two texts, their content and structure, one cannot ignore the influencing factors that led Kerouac to write them and the aspects of his life that affected the way in which they were composed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kenneth Rexroth – “Disengagement: The Art of the Beat Generation” (1957)

July 25, 2010 at 1:27 am (Kenneth Rexroth, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

A 1957 article by poet Kenneth Rexroth from New World Writing


Literature generally, but literary criticism in particular, has always been an area in which social forces assume symbolic guise, and work out — or at least exemplify — conflicts taking place in the contemporary, or rather, usually the just past, wider arena of society. Recognition of this does not imply the acceptance of any general theory of social or economic determinism. It is a simple, empirical fact. Because of the pervasiveness of consent in American society generally, that democratic leveling up or down so often bewailed since de Tocqueville, American literature, especially literary criticism, has usually been ruled by a “line.” The fact that it was spontaneously evolved and enforced only by widespread consent has never detracted from its rigor — but rather the opposite. It is only human to kick against the prodding of a Leopold Auerbach or an Andrei Zhdanov. An invisible, all-enveloping compulsion is not likely to be recognized, let alone protested against. Read the rest of this entry »

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