Cover of: The Town and the City | Jack Kerouac
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An edition of The town and the city (1950)

The Town and the City

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This edition published in by Harvest Books

Written in English

512 pages

The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road (1957). Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical novel, though less directly so than most of his other works. The Town and the City was written in a conventional manner over a period of years, and much more novelistic license was taken with this work than after Kerouac's adoption of quickly written "spontaneous prose". The Town and the City was written before Kerouac had developed his own style, and it is heavily influenced by Thomas Wolfe (even down to the title, reminiscent of Wolfe titles such as The Web and the Rock).

The novel is focused on two locations (as suggested by the title): one, the early Beat Generation circle of New York in the late 1940s, the other, the nearly rural small town of Galloway, Massachusetts that the main character comes from, before going off to college on a football scholarship. Galloway represents the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, which the Merrimack river runs through, and where Kerouac was raised. The experiences of the young "Peter Martin" struggling for success on the high school football team are largely those of Jack Kerouac (he returns to the subject again in his last work Vanity of Duluoz, published in 1968).

The "city" represents a number of figures of the early beat circle: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), Herbert Huncke (as Junky), David Kammerer (as Waldo Meister), Edie Parker (as Judie Smith) and also Joan Vollmer (as Mary Dennison) -- though she essentially has a non-speaking role (however some of her ideas are quoted by the Ginsberg-figure). Near the end of the novel, the Waldo Meister character dies by falling from the window of Kenneth Wood's apartment (a distant echo of the real event: David Kammerer knifed by Lucien Carr, possibly in self-defense). In the novel the police largely just accept this as a suicide. A version of the events closer to the truth can be found in Vanity of Duluoz, in which Carr was arrested and eventually accepted a plea of manslaughter and a prison sentence; and Kerouac was arrested and held briefly as an accessory after the fact. Still another version of the story can be found in an early novel Kerouac collaborated on with William S. Burroughs, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, published after Kerouac’s death.

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Edition Availability
Cover of: The Town and the City.
The Town and the City.
August 1, 1993, Rowohlt Tb.
Paperback in German / Deutsch
Cover of: The town & the city
The town & the city
1978, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
in English
Cover of: The town and the city
The town and the city
1974, Quartet Books
in English
Cover of: The town and the city
The town and the city
1974, Quartet
in English
Cover of: The town and thecity
The town and thecity
1973, Quartet Books
in English
Cover of: The Town and the City
The Town and the City
October 21, 1970, Harvest Books
in English
Cover of: The town and the city
The town and the city
1951, Eyre & Spottiswoode
in English
Cover of: The town & the city
The town & the city
1950, Harcourt, Brace
- 1st ed., advance review copy.
Cover of: The town & the city
The town & the city
1950, Harcourt, Brace
in English - 1st ed. --
Cover of: The town & the city.
The town & the city.
1950, Harcourt, Brace
Hardcover in English - [1st ed.]
Cover of: The town and the city.
The town and the city.
1950, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
in English
Cover of: The town and the city.
The town and the city.
1950, Harcourt Brace
in English
Cover of: The Town and the City (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Town and the City (Penguin Modern Classics)
Publish date unknown, Penguin Classics

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The town and the city

First published in 1950



Work Description

The Town and the City is a novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950. This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road (1957). Like all of Jack Kerouac's major works, The Town and the City is essentially an autobiographical novel, though less directly so than most of his other works. The Town and the City was written in a conventional manner over a period of years, and much more novelistic license was taken with this work than after Kerouac's adoption of quickly written "spontaneous prose". The Town and the City was written before Kerouac had developed his own style, and it is heavily influenced by Thomas Wolfe (even down to the title, reminiscent of Wolfe titles such as The Web and the Rock).

The novel is focused on two locations (as suggested by the title): one, the early Beat Generation circle of New York in the late 1940s, the other, the nearly rural small town of Galloway, Massachusetts that the main character comes from, before going off to college on a football scholarship. Galloway represents the town of Lowell, Massachusetts, which the Merrimack river runs through, and where Kerouac was raised. The experiences of the young "Peter Martin" struggling for success on the high school football team are largely those of Jack Kerouac (he returns to the subject again in his last work Vanity of Duluoz, published in 1968).

The "city" represents a number of figures of the early beat circle: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), Herbert Huncke (as Junky), David Kammerer (as Waldo Meister), Edie Parker (as Judie Smith) and also Joan Vollmer (as Mary Dennison) -- though she essentially has a non-speaking role (however some of her ideas are quoted by the Ginsberg-figure). Near the end of the novel, the Waldo Meister character dies by falling from the window of Kenneth Wood's apartment (a distant echo of the real event: David Kammerer knifed by Lucien Carr, possibly in self-defense). In the novel the police largely just accept this as a suicide. A version of the events closer to the truth can be found in Vanity of Duluoz, in which Carr was arrested and eventually accepted a plea of manslaughter and a prison sentence; and Kerouac was arrested and held briefly as an accessory after the fact. Still another version of the story can be found in an early novel Kerouac collaborated on with William S. Burroughs, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, published after Kerouac’s death.

The Town and the City

This edition published in by Harvest Books


First Sentence

"THE TOWN is Galloway."

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL7366253M
ISBN 10
0156907909
ISBN 13
9780156907903
Library Thing
58504
Goodreads
763147

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History

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August 5, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
April 24, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Fixed duplicate goodreads IDs.
April 16, 2010 Edited by bgimpertBot Added goodreads ID.
April 14, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Linked existing covers to the edition.
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from amazon.com record.