Beatific Soul

Jack Kerouac on the Road

Isaac Gewirtz

    ISBN: 978 1 85759 497 3

    Size: 280 x 216 mm / 11 x 8.5 in.

    Binding: Hardback

    Pages: 208

    In association with:

    Date published: October, 2007

    UK £25 /US $45


  • Celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication On the Road in 1957
  • Includes previously unseen photographs of Kerouac and the Beats, as well as rare and unpublished writings, artwork, typescript drafts of On the Road and personal objects
  • Accompanied an exhibition of the same name at The New York Public Library from 28 September 2007 to 10 February 2008


Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road was a touchstone for a generation and the centerpiece of the Beat movement in literature and art. Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road traces Kerouac’s tumultuous and often traumatic journey from his working-class boyhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, to New York City, where he, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs would become the fathers of the Beat movement, and beyond. Drawing on journals, diaries, manuscripts, and typescripts in The New York Public Library’s Jack Kerouac Archive, material never before seen by the general public, and only a very few items of which have been seen even by scholars, Beatific Soul explores Kerouac’s evolution as a writer and his spiritual passage from Christianity to Buddhism and back again. Illustrated throughout with more than 125 reproductions of diaries, journals, typescripts by Kerouac, as well as family photographs and striking portraits of Kerouac and his contemporaries, Beatific Soul is a fitting tribute to its subject.

Author information

Isaac Gewrirtz, PhD, is Curator of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at The New York Public Library. The Berg Collection holds the literary and personal archives of Jack Kerouac.