[KEROUAC, Jean-Louis Lebris de ("Jack"), 1922-1969]. Two books from Kerouac's library:
DOSTOEVSKY, Feydor (1821-1881). The Possessed. Translated by Constance Garnett. New York: Modern Library, 1936. 8o. Original cloth (a bit worn and soiled). Provenance: Jack Kerouac (signature "John Kerouac 1949" in pencil on front free endpaper).
KEROUAC'S 'POSSESSED'. Kerouac's underlinings, annotations, comments and bracketings appear on a number of pages throughout the book. In all, approximately 70 words in Kerouac's hand appear on 21 pages. On p.185 Kerouac writes, "As if they were all running through heaven." One significant annotation is recorded on p.240, next to Dostoevsky's line "Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy." Beside this Kerouac has written, "Neal's idea," referring to Neal Cassady. Another reference to William S. Burroughs ("W.S.B.") is made on p.698 next to a passage on the belief in God and the devil. Laid in is a 1¼-page autograph list, 17 lines, of character names in Kerouac's hand with his brief analysis of their traits: "Stepan Trofimovitch, old "liberal"... Shatov (dull wanderer)... Lebyndkin (giant drinker)..."
Dostoevsky was a powerful influence on Kerouac; his Subterraneans, was consciously modelled on Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books. Praising Neal Cassady's unaffected letters, Kerouac likened his prose to that of Dostoevsky. In 1948-49, he was finishing work on his first novel The Town and the City, published in 1950. This, and the Spenser below, were evidently part of what was once an extensive library which Kerouac had carefully maintained at his mother's different residences, then at his sister's home in North Carolina and later at his home in Orlando, Florida. These were acquired in 1949, the period of his extensive travels and the writing of his first book. They were given to the present owner by an Orlando woman (Stella Sampas Kerouac?) after 1969.
SPENSER, Edmund. The Poetical Works. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1903. 8o. Original cloth. Provenance: Hazel Armitage, Denver University (her signature on front pastedown, notes on rear endleaves); Jack Kerouac (signature "John Kerouac 1949 Denver Colo." on front free endpaper). (2)