Kerouac: Selected Letters

Kerouac: Selected Letters

Volume 2: 1957-1969

Written by:
Edited by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140296150
  • 608 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


The first volume of Jack Kerouac’s selected letters, published in 1995, was hailed as an important and revealing addition to Kerouac scholarship. This second and final volume, comprising letters written between 1957, the year On the Road was published, and the day before his death in 1969 at age forty-seven, tells Kerouac’s life story through his candid correspondence with friends, confidants, and editors—among them Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joyce Johnson, and Malcolm Cowley. Documenting his continuing development as a writer and his travels, love affairs, and complicated family life, the letters also reveal Kerouac’s amazing courage in the force of criticism and his never-ending quest to be the best writer possible.

Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 offers unparalleled insight into the life and mind of this giant of the American landscape.


“Reveals the boldness and originality of Kerouac’s artistic vision.”
The Boston Globe

“It remains clear from his later letters that Kerouac understood what he was doing as a writer. He consistently explains his aesthetic, his plan to create the Duluoz Legend of books, and the essentially benign charity of his vision.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Rambunctious and energetic . . . the letters convey the genius of that special American type—the perpetual motion man.”
The Washington Post

“Kerouac’s letters and early stories supplement his legend, providing a fuller portrait of a true American original.”
The Boston Globe