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A Torrent of Words

A Torrent of Words

(p.173) Chapter 11 A Torrent of Words
Ann ChartersSamuel Charters
University Press of Mississippi

As insecure, aspiring young novelists, John Clellon Holmes and Jack Kerouac engaged each other in unacknowledged competition. Their disputes shaped the artistic path each of them would ultimately follow. In May 1948, after finishing the first draft of his novel The Town and the City, Kerouac started writing his road novel, even as he had difficulty finding an appropriate title. The problem was that he remained under the stylistic influence of Thomas Wolfe. Meanwhile, Holmes and Neal Cassady had been corresponding frequently over the previous weeks, something of which Kerouac seemed to be unaware. More than a year after he started writing Go, Holmes finished the first draft of the novel on February 23, 1951. His description of Cassady in the book was not in accord with Kerouac’s and Allen Ginsberg’s idealized view of their friend. Kerouac had also completed On the Road.

Keywords:   novelists, John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, novel, Thomas Wolfe, Neal Cassady, Go, Allen Ginsberg, On the Road

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