Canada Beats

A Complex Legacy

Authored by: Katharine Streip

The Routledge Handbook of International Beat Literature

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9780415785457
eBook ISBN: 9781315210278
Adobe ISBN:


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Would there have been a Beat generation without Canada? Jack Kerouac, a catalyst for the Beat movement, confessed in a letter to the critic Yvonne le Maitre, “All my knowledge rests in my ‘French-Canadianness’ and nowhere else” (Melehy 2016: 42). In another letter, Kerouac writes, “Canada brooded in the air and haunted me … Canada was my bosom of God” (Johnson 2012: 21). The opening of the Kerouac archives at the New York Public Library in 2006 revealed the extent to which Kerouac identified himself as French Canadian (Cloutier 2016: 9).

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