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Jack Kerouac’s Literary Genius Revealed: Ammiel Alcalay

In a recent BOMB Magazine feature, Professor Ammiel Alcalay (GC/Queens, English) reviews two new books that provide a “fuller picture of the enormity” of Jack Kerouac’s literary achievement, which until now has been largely “misunderstood, denigrated, and distorted,” he writes. 

Alcalay argues that the two “superbly edited” books — The Unknown Kerouac (Library of America, 2016), edited by Todd Tietchen with translations by Jean-Christophe Cloutier, and La vie est d'hommage (Boréal, 2016) edited by Cloutier — “give us a more sustained and coherent reading of Kerouac's full oeuvre.”

Alcalay cites a number of revelations from the books, including the lasting influence of Kerouac’s native tongue — French, which he learned growing up in the “Little Canada” community in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Alcalay (Ph.D. ‘89, Comparative Literature) specializes in a range of areas in poetry, poetics, literature, and literary theory. His research interests include the Beat Generation; African-American culture in local and international contexts; colonialism and the cultures of decolonization; literatures and cultures of the Middle East and the Balkans; medieval studies; and translation. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993).

Submitted on: MAR 29, 2017

Category: English | General GC News