Kerouac, The Word and the Way:

Prose Artist as Spiritual Quester

Benedict Giamo, Southern Illinois University Press

Jack Kerouac, the literary icon of the Beat Generation, was recruited by Frank Leahy to play football at Notre Dame. Instead, he went on the road, writes author Ben Giamo, seeking “the ultimate meaning of existence and suffering and the celebration of joy in the meantime.” Giamo clarifies Kerouac’s various spiritual quests (he was baptized and buried Catholic but heavily influenced by Buddhism) through close examination of his exuberant novels. In the process Giamo joins Kerouac in his search for IT—"the ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being."

Ben Giamo is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous books are The Homeless of Ironweed: Blossoms on the Crag, Beyond Homelessness: Frames of Reference (with Jeffrey Grunberg), and On the Bowery: Confronting Homelessness in American Society.