Today is officially Jack Kerouac Day in Massachusetts. It’s the author’s birthday, March 12 (1922). The Governor will issue a proclamation in recognition of the day. The legislature put this on the books in 2001, thanks to state Sen. Moore of Worcester, Lowell’s Statehouse delegation at the time, local citizen advocacy, and the backing of the Kerouac Estate. Here’s the 2012 proclamation by Gov. Patrick.
A new book by Kerouac containing a short novel, related writings, and letters is on the streets. Titled The Haunted Life, the collection of works was edited by Todd Tietchen, a professor of English at UMass Lowell.
The Guardian newspaper in England published a brief excerpt from the novel, which is set in Lowell in the early 1940s. Following is a passage from the excerpt:
Peter’s origins – the more recent ones – betrayed his intellectual convictions. Bent on lolling through the summer, he yet winced inwardly when passing by a group of workmen in the street, and avoided their eyes. His conviction was that history, as drama, was an unparalleled production – acted by the princes of destiny; directed by that brilliant, envious, and colorless crew that forever sat at the hem of greatness; financed – in terms of blood and labor – by the numberless, nameless masses who paused, only occasionally, to look up from their work and watch; and written by the reality of the hour, the reigning combination of cross-events that was supreme, final, and unalterable history.