From the library of Jack Kerouac with his ownership signature and annotations
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (Jack Kerouac).
Item Number: 95251
New York and Boston: Books, Inc, c. 1940s.
Jack Kerouac’s copy of this collection of the short stories of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, with his ownership signature and marginal annotations throughout. Octavo, original cloth. Signed and dated by Kerouac on the pastedown, “John Kerouac 1949.” On page 36 Kerouac has added the subtitle “(with notes)” beneath the title: An Unpleasant Predicament. He has also added several marginal notes, next to the sentence that begins “The fact…” Kerouac has written, “Truly ‘the fact.’ Always fluffs the rest, & gets to the ‘fact.'” Next to the word “fond” Kerouac has jotted, “fond always gives a batty tone — just right.” Regarding Dostoyevsky’s use of the word “actual” he writes, “Dusty’s way of being a card. Commenting on the sentence, “He was a bachelor because he was an egoist,” Kerouac writes “A Family man’s reflection.” In near fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptionally rare example not only offering a rare glimpse into Kerouac’s early literary thinking, but the very copy that informed many of his works.
Dostoyevsky was an important influence on Kerouac in his formative years as a writer; his novel, The Subterraneans, was deliberately modeled on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books, and there are several references to the Russian author in Kerouac's novels and letters. In 1949, the year that Kerouac bought the present volume, he had just completed the raucous road trips with Neal Cassady that began in July, 1947, written The Town and the City, and was drafting the fabled first manuscript draft of On the Road.