Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Orpheus Emerged - Jack Kerouac

Linked by...

It was João Moura, a young and talented portuguese poet that led us the way to Jack Kerouac. João, in his beautifull book of poetry "Nos Destroços de Um Naufrágio" mentioned his name, and we here at Linked Books started looking for a Jack Kerouac´s book to read. Fortunately, we found this english edition at Winking Books.

This blog started out to be written only in portuguese. However, in its first year of existence (2012) we found that several times our links pointed out to english books, or to books that didn´t have a portuguese edition. As an aletrnative to portuguese editions, we started to read the english books, but continued to make our reviews in portuguese. We decided to change that from this book forward, as we thing it makes more sense to write our posts in the books primary language. This first post in 2013, will be our first post written in english too.

Linked opinion...

This was an unkowned author for me. I looked him up on the Internet and found out some really interesting things about his life, and about his role in the so called "Beats" or "Beat Generation". I also read a little about this book, before reading it, and already knew that it was one of his early books, that didn´t even get published before his and his wife´s death. Many fans see this book as a poor work, as compared to his primary and most important work.

However, for me, this was my first Kerouac´s book, and after reading it, I became really interested in his work, and eager to read more of his books.

I found it to be a quite interesting book, but, inspite of haven´t read anything else of this author, I can understand Kerouac´s fans, when they talk about it´s poor literary qualities. For me, the story is fairly well built, but seems to fail short on its global goal. I think maybe Kerouac failed passing out his message, first because his message was a bit overwhelming and complex one, and second because at his young age, he hadn´t yet developed the necessary literary tools, to do it in a proper way. If it had stayed just as a novela talking about the life of young men and their friends at college, I think it would be best. Simpler and much more modest, but best.

That was the bit I liked most. The characters. Well built, and interesting. Every one of them trying to find his way through life and it´s meaning. The search for knowledge, or just the giving it up to vice, and to the day to day survivance.

I think that anyone who really likes to read, and is interested in the history of american literature should read this book. But if you are looking for a really good book to read, wtih a great story, I think you better look for another book, as you will not like this one.

Linked people...

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
Lucien Carr (1925-2005)
Ed Dorn (1929-1999)
Charles Olson (1910-1970)

Linked books...

Charterhouse of Parma - Stendhal (Kerouac mentioned a novela by Stendhal, but he didnt´t say which one, so I chose this one, because it was available at Winking Books)

The Idiot - Fiódor M. Dostoevsky

Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde (Kerouac mentioned Oscar Wilde´s verse from the Ballad of the Reading Gaol: "Killing the one you love, with sword or kiss...")

On the Nature of Things -  Titus Lucretius Carus

Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Friedrich Nietzsche

Ulysses - James Joyce

Journal of Albion Moonlight - Kenneth Patchen

Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot

Ash Wednesday - T.S. Eliot

The Flowers of Evil - Baudelaire (only Baudelaire was mentioned, and not this particular work. I chose this Baudelaire´s title for it´s already on our "to-read" list of books)

As Jack Kerouac is part of the Beat movement, the publisher dedicated some pages of this book to tell us about the history of the "beats". In that history, three essential "Beat movement" books were mentioned:

Linked literary movement...

The Beat Generation was a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of "Beat" culture included rejection of received standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition.

The original "Beat Generation" writers met in New York. Later, in the mid-1950s, the central figures  ended up together in San Francisco where they met and became friends with figures associated with the San Francisco Renaissance.
In the 1960s, elements of the expanding Beat movement were incorporated into the hippie counterculture.

Linked music...

The book only mentioned "Bach´s organ fugue"...I took the liberty to choose this video.

Linked art...

 Degas "Interior"

Linked food...

Lobster Thermidor is a French dish consisting of a creamy mixture of cooked lobster meat, egg yolks, and cognac or brandy, stuffed into a lobster shell. It can also be served with an oven-browned cheese crust, typically Gruyère. The sauce must contain mustard (typically powdered mustard).
Lobster Thermidor was created in 1894 by Marie's, a Paris restaurant near the theatre Comédie Française, to honour the opening of the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou. The play took its name from a summer month in the French Republican Calendar, during which the Thermidorian Reaction occurred, overthrowing Robespierre and ending the Reign of Terror. Due to expensive and extensive preparation involved, Lobster Thermidor is usually considered a recipe primarily for special occasions. Lobster Thermidor is related to Lobster Newberg, created some 20 years earlier in the United States.

Linked looked up words...

poignant - emotionally moving, relevant, pertinent.
loafer - slip-on-shoe, idle person (informal)
gander - male goose, look (informal)
fledgling - young bird, figurative: inexperienced or new.
ennui - boredom
balderdash - nonsense (informal)
mien - manner, behaviour, appeareance (literary,arcaic)

No comments:

Post a Comment