In honor of Jack Kerouac’s birthday, born on this day in 1922, I present to you a segment from The Subterraneans, a fictional account of a short romance. Please enjoy.
The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Jack Kerouac, beat poet and author. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with Alene Lee in Greenwich Village, New York. Kerouac met Alene in the late summer of 1953 when she was typing up the manuscripts of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, in Allen’s Lower East Side apartment. In the novella, Kerouac moved the story to San Francisco and renamed Alene Lee “Mardou Fox”. She is described as a carefree spirit who frequents the jazz clubs and bars of the budding Beat scene of San Francisco. Other well-known personalities and friends from the author’s life also appear thinly disguised in the novel. The character Frank Carmody is based on William S. Burroughs, and Adam Moorad on Allen Ginsberg. Even Gore Vidal appears as successful novelist Arial Lavalina. Kerouac’s alter ego is named Leo Percepied, and his long-time friend Neal Cassady is mentioned only in passing as Leroy.
“Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work.”
Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody
The position of jazz and jazz culture is central to the novel, tying together the themes of Kerouac’s writing here as elsewhere, and expressed in the “spontaneous prose” style in which he composed most of his works.
Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac, known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet of French Canadian ancestry, who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation.
The Wind in the Willows is the first segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, narrated by Basil Rathbone. The other half of the animated feature was based on the unrelated short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was reissued as a stand-alone short in the 1950s.
The Wind in the Willows is based on the children’s book by the British novelist Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternating between slow- and fast-paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphic animals: Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger. They live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.
Your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous.
the gods wait to delight in you.
Roll the Dice
If you’re going to try, go all the way.
otherwise, don’t even start.
if you’re going to try, go all the way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs
and maybe your mind.
go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your endurance,
of how much you really want to do it.
and you’ll do it despite rejection
and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else you can imagine.
if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with fire.
do it, Do It, DO It.
all the way.
ALL THE WAY!
You will ride life straight
to perfect laughter,
it’s the only good fight there is.
“If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled”
– Aldous Huxley
This is an interview by Mike Wallace that took place on May 18, 1958, from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, in which Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all.
“I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”
– Bernard Marx
*From the Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World published in 1932.
The prisoner strapped under a descending pendulum blade. A raven who refuses to leave the narrator’s chamber. A beating heart buried under the floorboards. Poe’s macabre and innovative stories of gothic horror have left a timeless mark on literature. But just what is it that makes Edgar Allan Poe one of the greatest American authors? Scott Peeples investigates.
It’s a timeless classic of children’s literature and the third most-quoted book in English after the Bible and Shakespeare. But what lies behind the extraordinary appeal of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to generations of adults and children alike? To mark the 150th anniversary of its publication, this documentary explores the life and imagination of the man who wrote it, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll. Broadcaster and journalist Martha Kearney delves into the biographies of both Carroll himself and of the young girl, Alice Liddell, who inspired his most famous creation. Kearney’s lifelong passion for Carroll’s work began as a young girl, when she starred as Carroll’s heroine Alice in her local village play. She discusses the book with a range of experts, biographers and distinguished cultural figures – from the actor Richard E Grant to children’s author Philip Pullman – and explores with them the mystery of how a retiring, buttoned-up and meticulous mathematics don, who spent almost his entire life within the cloistered confines of Christ Church Oxford, was able to capture the world of childhood in such a captivating way.
Alice in Wonderland is said to be the most quoted book in print, second only to The Bible, with a passionate army of fans who regularly congregate around the world to celebrate its rich and playful world. But what of its creator, the mild-mannered and unassuming Oxford University Math Don, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka. Lewis Carroll?
Famed not only for his wonderful stories, Carroll is also known for his ambiguous relationship with the young girl who inspired his most beloved creation, Alice Liddell, a seemingly innocent infatuation that he documented in his pioneering photography.
With contributions from the likes of thespian Richard E. Grant, social commentator Will Self and author Philip Pullman, at once adoring and provocative this documentary casts a conflicted eye over the creation of Wonderland. Pouring through historical evidence and stories passed down through generations, hear the tale of Carroll’s first encounter with the three Liddell girls and the first telling of Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole one summer’s afternoon in a boat upon the River Thames. Documentary first broadcast in 2015.
Still my favorite animated adaptation of my favorite classic Christmas tale, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol, based on the Classic 1843 novel written by Charles Dickens, was directed by Richard Williams and its visual style is also largely due to Ken Harris, credited as “Master Animator”. It starred Alastair Sim as the voice of Ebenezer Scrooge — a role Sim had previously performed in the 1951 live-action film Scrooge. Michael Hordern likewise reprised his 1951 performance as Marley’s Ghost in the same film. Michael Redgrave narrated the story and veteran animator Chuck Jones served as executive producer. Williams’ son Alexander Williams, then aged four, provided the voice for Tiny Tim.
This adaptation of A Christmas Carol has a distinctive look, created by multiple pans and zooms and by innovative, unexpected scene transitions. The visual style, which is unusually powerful, is inspired by 19th century engraved illustrations of the original story by John Leech and the pen and ink renderings by illustrator Milo Winter that graced 1930s editions of the book. The intended audience does not include young children, and the film’s bleak mood and emphasis on darkness and shadows lead some to consider it the most frightening of the many dramatizations of the Dickens classic.
Originally produced as a 1971 television special, A Christmas Carol was considered so well done that it was subsequently released theatrically, thereby rendering it eligible for Oscar consideration, and the film did go on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for 1972. Some industry insiders took issue that a short originally shown on television was given the award, and the Academy responded by changing its policy, disqualifying any future works initially shown on television.