Books: Sanity of Kerouac

Sanity of Kerouac VANITY OF DULUOZ by Jack Kerouac. 280 pages. Coward-McCann. $5.50.

How in the name of all the past and present editors of the Partisan Review did Jack Kerouac, cult leader of post-World War II intellectual vagrants, ever attain standing as a member (let alone chieftain) of the avantgarde? Vanity of Duluoz, his best book, is a picaresque novel in a tradition as old as Tristram Shandy and about as avant-garde as Laurence Sterne—a man in holy orders, puckish though he was.

Actually an autobiography, the book tells of Kerouac's rise (in Lowell,...

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