Litkicks Message Board Archive


Posted to What Are You Reading?

I still can't agree with you entirely. As someone very familiar
with the literature of east Asia, its images, and its history, as
well with the Beats, I can say that even aside from Snyder
and Rexroth, few of the Beats reveal any actual knowledge
of the far east in their writing. Kerouac in particular basically
read a few books and declared himself an expert. Merely
reading cannot make one a master of Buddhism (for example),
and in the biographies I have read, I've never found evidence
that Kerouac seriously pursued meditation or anything like that.
This is to say nothing of normal Buddhist practice, which
includes things like abstinence from meat and alchohol, etc.
Kerouac at his best was a brilliant writer, but he was never
a scholar or a serious Buddhist.

But my point in recommending _Tristesssa_ and _Subterraneans_
to follow _Dharma Bums_ was to suggest that there is a
thematic consistency in the way Kerouac treats
non-white characters.