Jack Kerouac Autograph Questionnaire Signed.
"High School introduced at young age (15 & 16) to Emily Dickinson, who is probably greatest American poet I realize now": Rare Graduate Student Questionnaire Completed and Signed by Jack Kerouac with a lengthy inscription
Jack Kerouac Autograph Questionnaire Signed.
Item Number: 117950
Rare mimeographed questionnaire sent by a graduate student of City College of New York to Jack Kerouac; completed and signed twice by him with a lengthy inscription in conclusion. Two pages, partially printed the questionnaire begins with a typed letter signed by James A. Sherlock politely requesting Kerouac’s response which reads in part: “Dear Mr. Kerouac, I am a graduate student of City College of New York, working upon an original research project aimed at uncovering certain educational factors in the lives of successful writers. As you undoubtedly know, there always has been considerable interest in analyzing the psychological make-up of the writer, but seldom has the more prosaic factor of the writer’s education been taken into consideration. Through this questionnaire, I would like to find out if the average successful writer considers his high school education in English a help or a hindrance in preparing him for his profession. Did frequent composition assignments aid the writer in improving his skill? Did reading – either outside reading or reading assigned in the classroom – play a small or large part in preparing the writer for his work?” Completed by Kerouac, in his hand, the questionnaire reads: Reading During High School: 1. In your high school days, did you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction? “Both” 2. If you preferred fiction, what type did you prefer? (Novels, short stories, plays, poetry, etc.) “Novels (from Bronte to ‘pulp’ novels)” 3. If you preferred non-fiction, what subjects did you prefer to read about? “Encyclopaedias [sic], Atlases, Harvard Classics (of Elliot)” 4. Was most of your reading matter of your own choosing or reading material assigned in the classroom? “My Own Choosing mostly (cut classes to spend schooldays in Library)” 5. Did you favor one or two authors at this time in particular in your high school reading? If so, whom? “Just general” 6. As nearly as you can remember, approximately how many books did you read each month during your high school days? “Depended on activities (of course)” High School Instruction: 7. As nearly as you can remember, how often were written compositions assigned in your high school English classes? “Can’t remember” 8. In your opinion, what facet of English instruction did most to develop your skill as a writer? (Literature, composition, spelling, grammar, vocabulary study, others) “Literature” The least? “Composition” 9. As you recall, were your grades in English composition on the whole very good, good, average, fair, or poor? (Kerouac has checked good) 10. Do you recall ever having received special encouragement in your writing from a high school English teacher? “Yes, Joseph Pyne of Lowell High School (Mass.)” Early Writing: 11. At approximately what age did you first seriously consider becoming a writer? “17 (That is, a ‘serious’ writer) (wrote since 11)” 12. Did you engage in outside writing – above the usual writing required in every day life – to any degree at this time? “Yes – from 11 yrs. old on.” 13. Did you at this time consciously imitate the style of any particular author or authors in your writing? “Yes” If so, who? “Saroyan & Hemingway (at 17)” 14. In your opinion, how much did your high school English courses contribute to your success as a writer? (Kerouac has checked all four options: Very much, Some, Little, and Very Little) 15. What factor or factors, if any, would you say contributed more that your schooling to your success as a writer? “SELF IMPOSED READING SCHEDULES OUTSIDE CLASSROOM” Note: If you have additional ideas on the value or inadequacies of your high school English instruction, please feel free to state them on the back of this questionnaire. Name: “Jack Kerouac”. In response to the final question, Kerouac has added a full page signed inscription to the verso of the third page of the questionnaire, “English & American Lit course in High School introduced at young age (15 & 16) to Emily Dickinson, who is probably greatest American poet I realize now (at least equal to Melville & Whitman for sheer mental beauty & brilliance of emotion – description) – High School crucial time to teach Jack K. But writers are born, not made (ask Balzac).” In near fine condition. An exceptional example offering a rare and intimate glimpse into the education and influences of one of the formative writers of the 20th century.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, literary iconoclast Jack Kerouac is generally considered the father of the Beat movement, although he actively disliked such labels. Kerouac’s method was heavily influenced by the prolific explosion of jazz in 1960s America and later by his studies in Buddhism that originated with fellow beat and academic Gary Snyder. The raucous, exuberant, often wildly funny account of a journey through America and Mexico, Jack Kerouac's On the Road instantly defined a generation upon publication in 1957: it was, in the words of a New York Times reviewer, "the clearest and most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat.'" Written in the mode of ecstatic improvisation that Allen Ginsberg described as "spontaneous bop prosody," the novel remains electrifying in its thirst for experience and its defiant rebuke of American conformity. In his portrayal of the fervent relationship between the writer Sal Paradise and his outrageous, exasperating, and inimitable friend Dean Moriarty, Kerouac created one of the great friendships in American literature; and his rendering of the cities and highways and wildernesses that his characters restlessly explore are a hallucinatory travelogue of a nation he both mourns and celebrates.