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Kerouac, Jack (1922-1969) Typed Letter, [9 June 1940].

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Books & Manuscripts - 2764B
Date / Time :
November 16, 2014 10:00AM


Kerouac, Jack (1922-1969) Typed Letter, [9 June 1940].
Two leaves, blue paper, typed over all four pages, 1 1/2 spacing, with type-addressed envelope, and manuscript note, "Jack Lewis Ph.D.S.S.," postmarked Brooklyn, New York, June 9, 1940, 11:00 pm. To George J. Apostolos, written just after Kerouac's graduation from Horace Mann, before his return to Lowell for the summer, describing Kerouac's reading, college plans, and conveying excitement about their impending summer reunion. Envelope with discoloration to upper edge due to old white paint leakage, with some loss; letter with old folds, fading; a spot, measuring 3 x 3/4 in. affects both pages, with loss of legibility of approximately three words, small hole in the center of the spot where the folds converge on the second page, 8 1/2 x 11 in.

"[A]ll Van Gogh's gloriously artistic life has made me into a minor Van Gogh. I stay awake nights assuring myself that I too am an Artist----except that I paint with my pen, and not with a brush. (Writing.) I talk to myself and tell myself that I am an artist, because I shall write plays that will paint beautiful pictures of life. The Impressionists defined beauty as realism, so that a well-painted whore, despite her lack of teeth was beauty because of its stark realism. That's how I want to write."

"There can be no adequate expression in this 20th Century without a typewriter. In the old days, Dickens wrote with a pen, but now the demand is for racy stuff racily written."

"As for your suggestions on the college situation, you are absolutely correct. A diploma from Columbia is more meaty[.] […] That's where many a novelist, playwright, poet, artist, man of the world has come from---Columbia. I want to be a playwright and I need the Cosmopolitan education I'll get there. Besides, after reading the Van Gogh biography, I want to be like him, living alone in my room, supporting myself and hanging my critical essays on the wall as if they were paintings in oil. I'm going to be a big maniac there, and all I have to say is that I wish you could be there with me-----studying for our eventual success in the field of letters. Go on with your readings and studyings and don't ever let the narrow atmosphere of Lowell stop you."

Estimate $4,000-6,000

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Van Gogh, Jack Lewis, Brooklyn, George J. Apostolos, white paint leakage, Columbia, novelist, poet , artist, oil