Jack Kerouac was an American novelist and poet who became a central figure in the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922 to French-Canadian parents, Kerouac was raised in a working-class family and developed a love of literature and jazz music at a young age.
Kerouac attended Columbia University on a football scholarship but dropped out before completing his degree. He later moved to New York City, where he became friends with other writers, poets, and artists who were part of the emerging Beat Generation movement.
In 1957, Kerouac published his most famous novel, “On the Road,” which chronicled his travels across the United States with fellow Beat writer Neal Cassady. The novel, which was based on Kerouac’s own experiences, became a cultural touchstone and helped to establish the Beat Generation as a major literary movement.
Kerouac continued to write and publish novels, poetry, and essays throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but he struggled with alcoholism and depression. He died in 1969 at the age of 47 from complications related to cirrhosis of the liver.
Despite his relatively short career, Kerouac’s writing had a profound impact on American literature and culture. His spontaneous prose style, which he called “spontaneous bop prosody,” was a departure from traditional narrative forms and helped to pave the way for the experimental literature of the 1960s and beyond.
In addition to “On the Road,” Kerouac’s other notable works include “The Dharma Bums,” “Desolation Angels,” and “Big Sur.” His writing also inspired musicians, artists, and other cultural figures, and his influence can be seen in everything from the countercultural movements of the 1960s to the emergence of punk and alternative rock music in the 1970s and 1980s.
Despite some controversy surrounding his personal life and his writing, Kerouac remains an important and influential figure in American literature and culture, and his work continues to be read and studied by scholars, writers, and readers around the world.