Old Angel Midnight

Open Road Media
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A sensory narrative poem capturing the rhythms of the universe and secrets of the subconscious with stunning linguistic dexterity from the author of On the Road

A spontaneous writing project in the form of an extended prose poem, this sonorous and spiritually playful book is one of Jack Kerouac’s most boldly experimental works. Collected from five notebooks dating from 1956 to 1959—a time in which Kerouac was immersed in Buddhist theory—Old Angel Midnight is comprised of sixty-seven short sections unified by an unwavering dedication to sounds, the subconscious, and verbal ingenuity.

Friday Afternoon in the Universe, in all directions in & out you got your men women dogs children horses pones tics perts parts pans pools palls pails parturiences and petty Thieveries that turn into heavenly Buddha. Thus begins Kerouac’s Joycean language dance. From birdsong to dharmic verse, street jargon to French slang, the resonances of the universe come blaring in though the windows, unfurling their meaning as the mind lets go and listens.
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More by Jack Kerouac

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The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it

Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120 foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.

It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac’s friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.


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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Mar 22, 2016
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Pages
67
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ISBN
9781504033978
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Diaries & Journals
Poetry / American / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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