Vanity of Duluoz

Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46 is a 1968 semi-autobiographical novel by Jack Kerouac. The book describes the adventures of Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz, covering the period of his life between 1935 and 1946. The book includes reminiscences of the author's high school experiences in Lowell, Massachusetts, his education at Columbia University, and his subsequent naval service during World War II. It culminates with the beginnings of the beat movement. It was the last work published before Kerouac's death in 1969.

Vanity of Duluoz
First edition
AuthorJack Kerouac
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreSemi-autobiographical novel
PublisherCoward-McCann
Publication date
1968
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages272 pp
ISBN0-14-023639-2
OCLC30493294
813/.54 20
LC ClassPS3521.E735 V36 1994
Preceded bySatori in Paris
(1966) 
Followed byPic
(1971) 

Background

When Kerouac wrote Vanity of Duluoz in 1967 he had already been disenchanted and suffered alcoholism for several years, and his literary output had decreased. Typical of his memoir-style writing, the book delves into his past in Lowell and New York, and narrates his various travels and other living situations. It revolves around the time of the pre-WWII and war years and his time in college and the merchant marines, and concludes with his life in the eary renaissance of the Beat Generation. However, due to Kerouac's rambling style the book is frequently laced with comments on his contemporary world, his mid-life musings, and jabberwocky-like wordplay, and through certain portions of the book, he addresses the narration to "wifey".

Towards the end of the book, in Book 13, Kerouac identifies the meaning of his vanity with the words of King Solomon found in Ecclesiastes: "There is nothing new under the sun;" "All is vanity."

Character Key

Kerouac often based his fictional characters on friends and family.[1][2]

"Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work." [3]

Real-life person Character name
Neal Cassady Cody Pomeray
Jack Kerouac Jack Duluoz
Leo Kerouac Emil "Pop" Duluoz
Gabrielle Kerouac Ange
George "G.J." Apostolos G.J. Rigolopoulos
Aram "Al" Avakian Chuck Derounian
Henry "Scotty" Beaulieu Scotcho Boldieu
William S. Burroughs Will Hubbard
Joan Vollmer June
Mary Carney Maggie Cassidy
Lucien Carr Claude de Maubris
Billy Chandler Dickie Hampshire
Duke Chungas Telemachus Gringas
Margaret "Peggy" Coffey Pauline "Moe" Cole
Henri Cru Deni Bleu
Allen Ginsberg Irwin Garden
David Kammerer Franz Mueller
Johnny Koumentalis Johnny Kazarakis
Lou Little Lu Libble
Charles Morissette Charley Bissonnette
Robert Morissette Iddyboy Bissonnette
Jim O'Dea Timmy Clancy
Edie Parker Edna "Johnnie" Palmer
Sebastian "Sammy" Sampas Sabby Savakis
Stella Sampas Stavroula Savakis
Gary Snyder Gary Snyder
Seymour Wyse Lionel Smart

Notes

  1. Sandison, David. Jack Kerouac: An Illustrated Biography. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. 1999
  2. Who’s Who: A Guide to Kerouac’s Characters
  3. Kerouac, Jack. Visions of Cody. London and New York: Penguin Books Ltd. 1993.


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