Universitatea „Lucian Blaga”din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere și Arte
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11 / 2018
Jack Kerouac and Beat Spirituality: The Vehicle(s) to Enlightenment
This article analyses Jack Kerouac’s religious and literary “apostasy” from the forms of organized religion and the established norms of prose writing, in an attempt to prove that his turn to Mahayana Buddhism and “spontaneous prose” were the immediate expression of both his struggle to transcend the mundane and (re)create reality through art. He was ready to embrace everything but unwilling to give up anything, and thus he embarked on the Buddhist vehicle(s) to enlightenment, which allowed him to pursue his art and aspire to spiritual awakening. Kerouac’s life and work played a crucial role in the program of personal, social and literary transformation of America developed and implemented by the Beat Generation.
Keywords: Kerouac, Buddhism, Christianity, religion, spontaneous prose, Beat Generation.