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Desolation Angels (Anglais) Broché – 1 septembre 1995


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Revue de presse

"Kerouac was a breath of fresh air when he came on the literary scene. He was also a force, a tragedy, a triumph, and an ongoing influence, and that influence is still with us."
—Norman Mailer

"Kerouac ... defines the sensibilites of members of his own subgeneration: we knew them as wearing such guises as the Beat Generation, the Subterraneans, the Dharma Bums; now we see them as Desolation Angels, sadly pursuing their empty futilities..."
—Nelson Algren

"Each book by Kerouac is unique, a telepathic discord. Such rich natural writing is nonpareil in later 20th century, a synthesis of Proust, Celine, Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway, Genet, Thelonius Monk, Basho, Charlie Parker and Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer' as his great peer William S. Burroughs says."
—Allen Ginsberg

Présentation de l'éditeur

With the publication of On the Road in 1957, Jack Kerouac became at once the spokesman and hero of the Beat Generation. Along with such visionaries as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac changed the face of American literature, igniting a counterculture revolution that even now, decades later, burns brighter than ever in Desolation Angels.

In one of the major cinematic events of 2012, Jack Kerouac's legendary Beat classic, On the Road, finally hits the big screen. Directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries; Paris, Je T'Aime) and with a cast of some of Hollywood's biggest young stars, including Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams (Julie & Julia, The Fighter), Tom Sturridge, and Viggo Mortensen (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Road), the film will attract new fans who will be inspired by Kerouac's revolutionary writing.


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Jack Kerouac, né en 1922 dans le Massachusetts est d'origine canadienne-française et bretonne. C'est le chantre le plus écouté de ce groupe de romanciers et de poètes américains, qui s'est donné le nom de "beat generation". Il est mort en Floride en 1969.

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THOSE AFTERNOONS, those lazy afternoons, when I used to sit, or lie down, on Desolation Peak, sometimes on the alpine grass, hundreds of miles of snowcovered rock all around, looming Mount Hozomeen on my north, vast snowy Jack to the south, Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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209 internautes sur 212 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Jack's many lives converge in this book. 22 décembre 2000
Par Jon Penney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
There are usually two types of Kerouac readers. There are the "On the Roaders", as I call them. The ones that enjoy his style, his way of placing his friends' lives into the context of their own troubles, their loneliness their love-- all the while with a literary pace likened to a old pickup speeding across the straightaways of the vacant Montana backroads. And then there are the others, who like the former, enjoy the style-- but they also look for the sadness in Kerouac's writing. His ability to deconstruct people with one look (in Desolation Angels he watches a waitress in a bar and tells her entire life story in snapshot events that underlie the sad look in her eyes), to find the hidden sentiments in people's actions-- whether he's right or wrong we really don't care.

Desolation Angels is the book for the second group of people. It is tortuous at times-- like his solitude atop the mountain staring Hozomeen in the face every morning which reveals Kerouac's own struggle to deal with himself and his past. But I believe among all of his novels it is the most rewarding. The book takes us to all of his major haunts- London, New York, San Fran, Paris, the Mediterranean- with many of his closest friends - Neal, Allen, Williams S. Burroughs, Joyce. There's even a small part where Kerouac is face to face with Salvador Dali.

If you are looking for Kerouac-the-humanist at his best- this is the novel for you. Where the novel lacks in adventure (On the Road) and joyous affirmation (Dharma Bums) it makes up in sheer descriptive character study and sad observation, of a man trying to grapple with what he sees as the emptiness of all things, and the reality of his own personal struggles with life, love, and death.
39 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
ON THE ROAD...with Mom 15 août 2005
Par Spunk Monkey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book may come as a real shock to those whom have a preconcieved notion about what the "Beats" were all about, and it may also be a shock for those more familiar with the jubilant ecstatic life affirmations of On The Road or even The Dharma Bums.

In this book Jack goes on the road (with Mom), has sex with a fourteen year old mexican prostitute, meets up with a Neal (Cody) whom is a far fly from his On the Road days and is tied down with a wife + three kids and a job, meets Salidore Dali + William Carlos WIlliams + Carl Sandburg, gets his book published, is constantly compulsively depressed, has a paradigmatic consciousness flip after a huge dose of opium, meets up with junkie Burroughs in Tangiers (whom is lovelorn over Ginsburg), and kicks Buddhism down a notch for a more hardcore return to Christianity.

As others have noted, this book follows directly after the Dharma Bums and that book should be read first. What follows is Jack's experiences on the mountain which, contrary to his expectations in Dharma Bums, is almost like a nightmare prison sentence.

After he leaves the mountain, we enter into the first half of the book (his return to California), which is a bit ponderous and slow (but never boring). We are treated to a tortureous description of his day of betting at a race track with Neal and Corso.

The book picks up speed bigtime when he goes back on the road and then travels internationally.

His prose is brilliant and poetic and his observations remarkable and I think this book is brilliant; but it is also tremendously sad, deeply frusterated and lost, spiritually drained and destitute, and there is little ecstacy to be had. By the end of the book, and with the return of his compulsive obsession with Christianity, one can really sense the beginning of his psychosis and alcoholism and mommy obsession which would spell his death by age fourty seven.

I'm not sure to whom this book should be recommended- for I'm not sure whom would care about this descent of an icon for joy. It should definetly be read by those whom have read On the Road and the Dharma Bums, but also by those whom think that the counter cultural movements were all done by joy seeking thrill addicts without a care in the world. After reading this book, it would seem that caring is something that was not is short supply amongst these bands of fellow travelers on the way.

Also, those whom felt that the beats were all leftist radicals, anarchists and communists would be very suprised to read in this book that Jack almost seems like a rightist in many regards. He reads a book on the atrocities of communism on the mountain, he constantly is remarking about totalitarian regimes (in particular- Russia), brings up Mao (at a time when some on the left felt he may have been a hero and the crimes against "reactionaries" hadn't yet come into light) and Castro (while others went off to visit Cuba jack said "I'm not concerned with the Cuban Revolution, I'm concerned with the American Revolution.") and even Zapata is discussed in negative diatribes. He was also a fan of Ike. He spends far more time bitching about leftist than he does about rightists. He also has some special scorn put aside for the common hipster, the mass of "beats" whom came after.

Very moving, sad, beautiful, profound, funny, poetic- a treasure from a real man at the start of his turn into a caricature by the mass media. By the end, when he drags his mother to california and he doesn't have hardly a nickel, he truely does seem like a little boy lost, crushed still by the death of his brother Gerard and his father whom he found, crushed by all the love lost, by all the dreams evaporated.

Evey place he goes, he believes that happiness may lie at the next stop- but once he gets there, there is only sadness once again. At first he wants to return to the mountain on which he'd felt so trapped, but by the end of the book, he just wants to return to the womb.
47 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Kerouac's best novel 19 mars 2000
Par deadkerouac - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Wonderful novel by Jack Kerouac. We sense his deep loneliness and reevaluation of his life during his 63-day stay atop Desolation Peak in Mt. Baker National Forest in Washington State. Once down from the mountain, he sees how much life has changed once his novel "On the Road" is published. For those of you who loved "On the Road," "Desolation Angels" is a book you definitely must read--it's by far Kerouac's best and most personal novel.
23 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
the death of sal paradise 24 décembre 2005
Par Jonathon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Somewhere in the 409 pages of this book you'll find buried a truly great work of American literature. It is hard to fault Kerouac for his devotion to spontaneous and unedited writing; though these methods imposed limitations on what he could accomplish as a writer, they also contributed to what makes his books so fascinating. If Jack had lived in Hemingway's time, he would have submitted Desolation Angels to the publisher and would have been handed back a 300 page masterpiece.

The most problematic section is the first one, "Desolation in Solitude." I understand that Kerouac wanted to convey the sheer insanity of his isolation as a lookout, but considering that he already devoted about 30 pages to this in Dharma Bums, he essentially retreads the same mystic nonsense for another 70 pages without giving much new insight into his experience. The one interesting bit that comes out of the whole ordeal is the gradual dissatisfaction that Kerouac feels for Buddhism (which, through his interpretation, seems to fall a bit close to nihilism) and his reacceptance of Christianity.

But after this first section, things pick up and Kerouac delivers one painfully sad and and transcendentally beautiful insight after another (one of my favorites: his frustration at receiving a $3 jaywalking ticket on the way to a job, costing him half his day's pay-- but you have to read the way he puts it to understand, of couse). It is worth noting that Desolation Angels really is two different books written almost 5 years apart. The first half he wrote while in Mexico City (during events he describes in the second half, Passing Through), while the second half was written in Florida (I think) while he lived with his mother. Thus, Kerouac's interpretation of life radically shifts when you begin the 2nd half. He also suddenly becomes a lot more candid, talking about his life as a writer, his use of drugs, and the homosexuality of his peers in a lot more detail and honesty than he could manage before. It is also important to understand that "Desolation Angels" (part 1) was written BEFORE On the Road was published, while "Passing Through" (part 2) was written AFTER. His sudden brush with fame can probably account for this shift in perspective.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the multitude of spiritual revelations within the book, as its better to hear it out of the mouth of the mystic. Reading the book, one can't help but notice that Kerouac, even when past his literary and spiritual peak, was not the embittered and impotent wreck that he's usually considered-- not based on his touching insights in "Passing Through." He clearly has a lot of faith in humanity, and of the necessity that people act out of love and respect rather than hate and fear. Many critics quickly dismiss Desolation Angels as a "lesser work," but I think that if you're willing the persist through the dense opening section, the rewards are nearly as profound as those of his more famous novels.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The picture of unmaking 16 mai 2000
Par S. Mcdaniel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book has been described as the journal of Jack losing himself. Some critics state that when he came back down from his time of solitude on Desolation Mountain begins his spiral downward into madness, alcoholism and loss of artistic edge. I disagree - but it is most certainly a showing of a break in his persona - as he describes the beauty and horror of having nothing to do but face one's self when that's all one has. The lies you tell yourself are strong, but give way when you have no one else to reinforce them for months on end...and this may have indeed driven Jack to the edge and beyond.
The pre-eminent voice of the Beat movement, who both gave it its name and disavowed his involvement, is at his most exposed and honest self in this work. This is not a book to read for a relaxing afternoon, in my opinion. This is a book that will burden you - but you'll be better for it.
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