Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, later known as Jack Kerouac, was born on March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was born to his mother and father, Gabrielle Levesque and Leo Kerouac. Jack Kerouac grew up with his three older siblings. One brother was Gerard who, at the age of nine, passed away from rheumatic fever (biography.com).
Growing up, Kerouac loved spending his time on sports and reading. He ended up being the star running back of the Lowell High School football team. He hoped that with his football skills, he could acquire a college scholarship and help his family out of poverty as a result of his father’s alcoholism (biography.com).
In 1939, Kerouac graduated from high school and received a football scholarship to Columbia University. His calling in football didn’t last very long though because, in his freshman year of college, he broke his leg and his coach refused to let him play, even after his leg was healed (biography.com).
Even though Kerouac had an open schedule, he struggled in his classes. He liked to study what he wanted to learn, and got easily upset with the prearranged classes. He ended up skipping many classes to read about several modern writers like Celine, Dostoevsky, and Thomas Wolfe. He ended up eventually dropping out of Columbia University (lib.unc.edu). Soon, Kerouac joined the military in World War II in 1943. After only ten days, he was honorably discharged for “strong schizoid trends”, as his medical records had stated (biography.com).
After being released from the military, Kerouac went back to New York City and befriended a group of soon to be men that would, in next to no time, classify a literary movement. He met Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. These men are ultimately going to be the leaders of the Beat Generation of writers (biography.com).
There were many other people of the Beat Generation, also. For example, Neal Cassady, Lucien Carr and John Clellon Holmes were all original members of the Beat Generation. The Beat Generation was a mixture of many different materials to pull out a particular edition of literature. Romantic poets were a massive influence on the all of the work they did along with Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake. The main poet for the Beat Generation was Kerouac because no one else's personal life was more fulfilled with such controversial details (online-literature.com).
In 1944, Kerouac had been arrested as a material witness in the murder of David Krammerer by Kerouac's long time friend, Lucien Carr. Carr introduced Kerouac to Ginsberg and Burroughs. Krammerer had been obssesive over and stalked Carr. After Krammerer became violent, Carr ended up stabing Krammerer and looked to Kerouac to help dispose of the evidence (archives.waiting-forthe-sun.net).
In the late 1940s, Jack Kerouac wrote his first novel, Town and City, which was a tale about the cross of small town family morals and the excitment life in the city (biography.com). Town and City wasn't published until 1950, and ended up not doing so well, and failed to make him famous (famousauthors.org). While his first novel didn't get the publics attention, his second novel, On The Road, did (biography.com).
On The Road is inspired by one of Kerouac's New York friends, Neal Cassady. Cassady and Kerouac had taken very many cross-country road trips to many different places, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Mexico City (biography.com). Within a three week span, Kerouac sat at his typewriter and typed his novel on rolls of teletype paper, when, taped together, fulfilled 120 feet. While typing, he cared very little about punctuation, paragraphs, or anything that would inturupt his creative flow. Kerouac termed this technique to be "spontaneous prose" (lib.unc.edu).
On The Road remained unpublished for six years because publishers disagreed with what it was about and what he had written. The novel became an instantaneous classic when it was finally published by Viking Press on September 5, 1957. He had no idea how to handle this abrupt fame. He dealt it by becoming a drug addict and alcholic (biography.com).
Within the six years between the writting of On The Road and the publication, Kerouac had traveled a great deal. He wrote several other novels such as The Dharma Bums, that was later published in 1958, along with The Subterraneans. Then, in 1959, he published Dr. Sax, Mexico City Blues and Maggie Cassidy (biography.com).
After Kerouac's run in with the police in 1944, he married Edie Parker in exchange for bail money because his father refused to pay the sum of money somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000. After they grew apart, they divorced a few months later. Then, in 1950, he remarried to Joan Haverty, who left him while pregnat with his only child. When she gave birth to Kerouac's child, Jan Kerouac, he refused to claim her as his own until a paternity test proved it (archives.waiting-forthe-sun.net). After that, he married child hood friend Stella Sampas in 1966 (lib.unc.edu).
When the two moved back to Lowell Massachusetts, nothing much changed. Kerouac was still a drunk and did drugs. Three years later on October 20, 1969, he started feeling very ill. He was vomiting large amounts of blood and, after much convincing, went to St. Anthony's Hospital. From all of his alcohol consumption, his liver was ruined not letting his blood to clot. Early the next morning, October 21, 1969, he died from abdominal hemorrhage at the age of 47 (wikipedia.org).
In 2007, in celebration of the 50th anniversary on On The Road's publication, two new editions were printed. One was On The Road: The Original Scroll and On The Road: 50th Anniversary Edition. The scroll copies sold significantly better than the anniversary edition. The scroll was the original formatting of the novel, one immense piece. Viking Press inserted all the real names of the people that Kerouac changed (wikipedia.org).
After Jack Kerouac's death, more than 40 years later, his novel, On The Road, is still on almost every list of the 100 greatest American novels (biography.com). He continues to inspires people everywhere with his realistic novels.