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Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac in Lowell, Massachusetts. The youngest of three children, he became one of the well-known writers and poets associated with the Beat Movement of the 1950s. He went to Columbia University on a football scholarship, but he dropped out after his alcoholic father lost his business. While at Columbia he hung out with Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady.

He coined the term "beat generation," a label for alternative lifestyles and writing styles. He is most famous for his book ON THE ROAD, a nonfiction account of young, penniless artists associated with the Beat Movement who traveled back and forth across the country. The book was rejected for seven years before it was published.

Kerouac found enlightenment in the 1950s in Zen Buddhism and wrote the novel, THE DHARMA BUMS, which focuses on the religion. Recently SOME OF THE DHARMA, a collection of his thoughts on Buddhism, was the latest of several of his writings to be published posthumously. In his later years he became an alcoholic and became disillusioned with Buddhism. He and his third wife, Stella Sampas, moved in with his mother, and he continued to publish until he died in 1969 at 47 years of age.


1922 He was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac in Lowell, Massachusetts. (March 12)

1940 He entered Columbia University.

1941 He dropped out of Columbia University.

1950 His first novel, THE TOWN AND THE CITY, was published.

1957 ON THE ROAD was published.

1958 THE DHARMA BUMS and THE SUBTERRANEANS were published.

1959 DOCTOR SAX and MEXICO CITY BLUES was published.

1960 LONESOME TRAVELER was published.

1962 BIG SUR was published.

1965 DESOLATION ANGELS was published.

1969 He died in St. Petersburg, Florida. (October 21)

1972 VISIONS OF CODY was published posthumously.

1995 SELECTED LETTERS, 1940-1956 and BOOK OF BLUES were published posthumously.

1999 SOME OF THE DHARMA was published posthumously.