From what we know of Jack Kerouac’s life, in addition to evidence within his poetry and prose, there is on display a deep love, knowledge and understanding of jazz. It is perhaps because of Kerouac’s affinity with jazz, both in a cultural and a musical sense, that it is often seen as somewhat intrinsic to his own literary style, especially in some of his more experimental work. Due to this acknowledged intrinsic relationship between Kerouac’s work and jazz it is often difficult to separate one from the other, and as such it becomes particularly problematic to gauge just how important this perceived jazz influence actually is, and in what ways it manifests itself within Kerouac’s work. There is often a tendency, for example, to overemphasise or misread the direct influence that jazz may have in his work. With this in mind then, this dissertation will attempt to identify the specific ways in which Kerouac’s work is influenced by jazz, and also to examine just how important this influence is, and whether or not this focus on jazz overshadows a number of other key influences on Kerouac’s literary style and thematic explorations. The influence of jazz in Kerouac’s work is primarily apparent, as Larry Kart suggests in Jazz in Search of Itself, ‘as subject matter, as the trappings of his personal myth, and as a guide to prose technique’, and it is these key areas that I aim to explore.
The most common way that jazz is discussed in relation to Kerouac’s work is through the examination of his writing style, with particular regard to his prose work. One of the defining characteristics of Kerouac’s work is the free-flowing, seemingly formless style in which he writes. Labelled by Kerouac himself as ‘Spontaneous Prose’, the aim of this method is to write without a conscious or mannered style of composition, leading to a prose consisting of long, free-flowing sentences, allowing the author to convey his message as soon as they are imagined, thus ensuring that structural restraints or literary convention are not restrictive of creativity. As an example of this, here we see an extract from Kerouac’s novel Visions of Cody, a work in which this ‘Spontaneous Prose’ is especially prominent:
The raw cut, the drag, the butte, the star, the draw, the sunflower in the grass – orangebutted west lands of Arcadia, forlorn sands of the isolate earth, dewy exposures to infinity in black space, home of the rattlesnake and the gopher … the level of the world, low and flat: the charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power into the route
Here we see then how this idea of a ‘Spontaneous Prose’ technique manifests itself within Kerouac’s work: images are conveyed here without any serious thought as to how they should be presented or constructed. The fact that the presentation is one of a continual listing of seemingly unconnected images is suggestive of the somewhat random, improvised manner in which they are composed. As R. J. Ellis suggests in Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac – Novelist, this technique allowed Kerouac to create ‘a series of free-flowing long sentences, on the one hand seeking to recapture experience whilst on the other demonstrating its fluid elusiveness.’ This style then is extremely well suited to the effect that Kerouac is trying to achieve, as it allows him to unselfconsciously relay his own thoughts and recollections without taking responsibility for them or allowing himself the luxury of self-censorship.
Kerouac himself discusses this stylistic technique in great detail in his ‘Essentials of Spontaneous Prose.’ Part manifesto, part essay, Kerouac here outlines both the approach he takes to achieve this technique and his reasons for doing so. It is here that Kerouac explicitly acknowledges a direct influence of jazz upon his writing style, with statements such as ‘sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image’ and ‘vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases).’ It is clear then the image of himself that Kerouac wishes to convey, and what he hoped to achieve with his literary techniques. As Ellis Amburn states in Subterranean Kerouac:
In Kerouac’s opinion, a writer could no more rehearse or revise his prose than a jazz musician could edit his riffs. When beginning to write a passage, an author should clear his mind of outlines, themes, and plots…letting the words flow out in a “sea of language.”
This is not to so say, however, that Kerouac is overtly successful in this portrayal of himself or his work, and it would be naïve to assume that he frequently abided by his own rules, despite the passion with which they are expressed. As Larry Kart suggests, ‘The “spontaneous prose” business isn’t worth bothering about in any literal sense, because the “no pause to think of proper word…if possible write without consciousness” aspects of the program apparently were not adhered to very often.’ There is a great contrast then in how Kerouac wishes to be seen, and how, in actuality, his literary style is presented in his work. It is in examining this contrast between Kerouac’s theories and his resultant work that the key to understanding the jazz influence on his technique lies.
Taking into account these statements where Kerouac explicitly states that he wishes to be seen as a ‘jazz poet, blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam’ for example, as he mentions in the preface to Mexico City Blues, it is easy to make a connection to passages such as the previously presented extract from Visions of Cody and discern aspects indicative of a strong jazz influence in Kerouac’s writing style. Here we see, for instance, a lack of significant punctuation, ensuring a frantic pace and a suggestion of formlessness, in addition to vivid yet seemingly unconnected imagery, giving the impression that they are being conveyed without a conscious thought as to how they should be presented. With this in mind we could surmise that passages such as this are suggestive of a literary style that is somewhat analogous to the free-form, improvisatory style of jazz that Kerouac was so explicitly fond of. Although we can equate this literary style to this musical improvisation to a certain degree, it would be a great oversight to assume that Kerouac’s style exists solely under the influence of this music, as there are a number of problems with subscribing to this theory of jazz influence that need to be addressed.
Firstly, for critics to focus on jazz in this way is to neglect the other key influences that inform Kerouac’s literary style and techniques. Primarily, there is much more contained within this technique than a mere verbalisation of this music, or putting the characteristics of this music into words. Moreover, Kerouac, like most artists, channels a wide range of influences and is part of a rich literary heritage, rather than merely filtering the work of his musical heroes into his own literary work. For as much as Kerouac adored this music, he still owes much of his stylistic techniques to his literary forbearers rather than his favourite Jazz musicians. The philosophies of such American poets as Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams also provided a key influence on this emphasis on spontaneity. As Peter Townsend states in Jazz in American Culture, ‘elements in the creative philosophy of Whitman and Williams directly affected, and reinforced as the example of jazz did, the ways in which Kerouac, Ginsberg and the Beat writers approached composition.’ Whitman, perhaps above all other major literary influences, is most crucial in an examination of the origin of Kerouac’s spontaneous style. A key work to consider here is Whitman’s ‘Spontaneous Me’ from his collection Leaves of Grass, in which the speaker professes to his spontaneity being enabled through the freedom that nature allows him. As recounted by Paul Maher Jr. in Kerouac: His Life and Works, the reading of this poem, and Whitman as a whole, had a profound effect on Kerouac’s artistic output, as ‘Whitman’s intonations coupled with Kerouac’s new perspective on his life, art and America.’ So the influence of Whitman, like that of jazz, allows Kerouac to filter his influences through into his work. Yet, due to the way in which Kerouac takes similar concepts from a number of eclectic sources, in this case the improvisatory or spontaneous elements of jazz and Whitman’s poetry, it is difficult to definitively establish exactly how these similar yet separate influences manifest themselves in Kerouac’s work.
If we were to look at Whitman’s work as whole, we see further indication that Kerouac took inspiration from his style. Throughout Whitman’s poetry, most notably and obviously in ‘Song of Myself’, we see similarities between his and Kerouac’s method of conveying imagery. The way in which Whitman draws together loosely connected images not to advance any form of narrative, but rather to further enhance the vividness of the ideas he is trying to convey is extremely reminiscent of Kerouac’s more extravagant passages of descriptive musing. Take, for example, the following passage from ‘Song of Myself’:
The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar room stove, / The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass, / The young fellow drives the express-wagon, (I love him, though I do not know him;)
There is a noted similarity here between the style of Whitman’s verse and Kerouac’s construction of imagery, as we can see in the previously cited passage from Visions of Cody, for instance. Primarily, there is evident a parallel in this method of constructing imagery not necessarily through a vivid description, but of a listing of only tenuously connected imagery to create a sense of abundance and wonder. There is, additionally, also a noted similarity in the way that, as R.J. Ellis suggests, Kerouac appropriates ‘Whitman’s use of anaphora in his construction of long, ecstatic catalogues and rhapsodies.’ So therefore while we can acknowledge to a certain degree the influence that improvisatory jazz may have on Kerouac’s style of composition, the similarities we can also see in the work of Whitman suggests that we simply cannot regard jazz as the sole, or indeed even the most important, influence on this style.
Similar to the acknowledged influence of poets such as Whitman, the inspiration and encouragement from Kerouac’s contemporaries cannot be ignored. The influence of Allen Ginsberg and, perhaps most crucially, Neal Cassady, are the most important figures to examine in this regard. A fellow associate of the ‘Beat Generation’, Ginsberg is perhaps the closest thing Kerouac had to a direct and active mentor in his life with regards to his writing. As Paul Maher Jr. points out, Kerouac ‘needed Allen [Ginsberg] to foster his artistic growth. Ginsberg was a convenient sounding board for Kerouac’s ideas. He could write feverishly and send the results to Ginsberg, whose effusive encouragement buoyed the sometimes skeptical [sic] Kerouac.’ Though perhaps even more crucial than Whitman to Kerouac’s artistic development was his association with one Neal Cassady. Kerouac first met Cassady in 1946, and would grow to become Kerouac’s muse and inspiration for the majority of his novels, as well as a focal point and central character. It is telling that Ellis Amburn suggests that, despite the multitude of authors that filter through into Kerouac’s work, that ‘the greatest literary influence on Kerouac was not any of the published writers of his time, but Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter,” perhaps the most famous document in Beat history and the work that shaped all of Kerouac’s future writings’ This letter, written from Cassady to Kerouac, exemplified the stream-of-consciousness, rambling style that Kerouac would seek to adopt in the majority of his work from On the Road onwards, and may well be the catalyst for Kerouac’s ability to offer a jazz-like style in his prose. It could be argued even that the awareness that Kerouac had of works such as this allowed him to create a similar style for himself that was reminiscent of the jazz he sought to allude to, rather than Kerouac directly attempting to convey this music through his literature. As David Sanderson and Graham Vickers suggest in their biography of Cassady, The Fast Life of a Beat Hero, Cassady had ‘now shown [Kerouac] a spontaneous style of writing – loose, rolling sentences studded with pin-sharp descriptions and vignettes – that perfectly suited his ambitions to create a written equivalent of “crazy jazz” rhythms and riffs.’ With this in mind, it seems that Kerouac’s prose is more evocative of the aesthetics of 1940s and 1950s Bebop, rather than imitative of it. Kerouac’s desire then perhaps, in professing to being a ‘jazz poet,’ is to create a style that extends and adapts this musical form into literature, rather than merely being influenced by it or attempting to recreate it.
So while the spontaneity of certain jazz music may provide an inspiration for Kerouac in his composition, this isn’t necessarily the primary template for the way in which Kerouac’s prose style is actually constructed. Therefore once we acknowledge a similarity between the style of Whitman and the style of Kerouac, for example, we must also re-evaluate the way in which this supposed jazz influence filters through into Kerouac’s method of composition. Bearing in mind the key similarities between Whitman and Kerouac’s spontaneity, in addition to the influence of contemporary figures such as Ginsberg and Cassady, it could be argued then that jazz is more of a stimulus for Kerouac’s apparently spontaneous style, rather than a blueprint as to how this spontaneity should be constructed. The fact that Kerouac himself acknowledges a deep understanding and influence of jazz, and yet this isn’t necessarily explicitly evident in his prose style, certainly seems to add weight to this theory.
Another key point to consider, as introduced when discussing Whitman’s influence, is the fact that this spontaneous, improvisatory, jazz-like style is simply not as prominent in Kerouac’s work as the author himself would often claim. As Peter Townsend suggests, ‘The textual evidence for [a jazz influence] in…Kerouac’s novels, is not very great, despite his love of the music.’ For although we can discern that there is certainly an influence of jazz, as the previously discussed example of Visions of Cody has shown, passages such as this do not occur as often and as explicitly for us to conclude that this influence is the most important aspect to consider when examining the makeup of Kerouac’s signature style. To once again call upon the example of Walt Whitman, whereas Whitman is able to use this style to great effect in his philosophical, musing, non-narrative poetry – even in a poem of the length of ‘Song of Myself’ – it is unreasonable to assume that Kerouac is able to sustain this same semblance of spontaneity over the course of a novel with the structural and narrative consistency as, say, On the Road. This spontaneity only manifests itself in short bursts, especially in Kerouac’s more conservative work, or else the structure and narrative pace of the work quickly begins to unravel. Instead, these periods of free-flowing ‘spontaneity’ are bridged by extended periods of narrative development in a style that is restrained and carefully constructed. As R.J. Ellis suggests, ‘attempts at rapid spontaneity rarely dominate Kerouac’s writing for more than a few pages. Rather his writing carefully builds up to these explosive moments.’ For Kerouac’s work, despite alluding to being dominated by unhinged streams-of-consciousness, is in fact dominated and defined by carefully constructed narrative and character development, rather than the vivid yet seemingly random imagery that a work of a truly free-form nature would consist of. In fact, as suggested by Matt Theado in Understanding Jack Kerouac, Kerouac’s novels are often plotted and planned out extensively prior to the commencement of actual writing:
Kerouac later explained to an interviewer that although the prose itself is written quickly, the story germinates over time: “you think out what actually happened, you tell your friends long stories about it, you mull it over in your mind, you connect it together at leisure, then when the time comes to pay the rent again you force yourself to sit at the typewriter, or at the writing notebook, and get it over with as fast as you can…and there’s no harm in that because you’ve got the whole story lined up.”
In addition to this pre-planning, Kerouac’s work was usually extensively and repeatedly revised before publication, again undermining the significance of a ‘spontaneous prose,’ and by extension the jazz-tinged invocations of such a style. As Tim Hunt points out in Kerouac’s Crooked Road, ‘Kerouac’s later claims that he did not revise [his works] are not accurate reflections of his practice or even his theory. He revised carefully both On the Road and most of the novels that followed it.’
Here we begin to get the impression then that Kerouac’s work is in fact significantly less ‘unconscious’, significantly less spontaneous than first imagined. So for a jazz influence to come through in Kerouac’s work, it cannot strictly be through the adoption of its spontaneous, improvisatory aspects. Rather, while this music may inspire the theory of Kerouac’s prose, it may not necessarily inform its practice. As R. J. Ellis notes, ‘Kerouac’s ‘spontaneous bop prosody’ is in fact very artful…It is less of an unconscious flow and more of a highly contrived and practiced exploration…It points to the way that learning to write ‘spontaneously’ involved Kerouac in arduous hours of practice.’ Thus we begin to get the impression then that while jazz may be influential to the more free-form passages of Kerouac’s prose, these passages only represent a relatively small aspect of Kerouac’s prose as a whole.
In this sense then it also incorrect to suggest that spontaneity and free-flowing writing suggests a lack of structure, as these two concepts are not that intrinsically connected to one another in Kerouac’s work as may first be apparent. If we assume that, as Peter Townsend suggests, ‘jazz is not structural, but features instead in short indicative episodes in which description predominates,’ then we must analyse what function these ‘jazz passages’ perform, and how significant they are to Kerouac’s work as a whole. Perhaps the best way to analyse the function that these free-flowing passages perform in Kerouac’s work, and consequently how these relate to the importance of jazz music in his work, is to examine the structure of Kerouac’s most famous work, the 1957 novel On the Road. There is a definite, even symmetrical perhaps, structure evident in On the Road, as the metaphorical journey that makes up the narrative is framed and guided by five separate literal journeys. In presenting these journeys across North America, Kerouac is able to create a sense of progression and tension in the same ways that any conventional novel would, despite this sheen of apparent spontaneity and formlessness. As John Leland points out in Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road, ‘Like any novelist, Kerouac constructed his story selectively, emphasizing or omitting details to develop themes, messing with time and character.’ The novel has a defined exposition at its beginning, as well as an identifiable and satisfactory resolution at its conclusion; this is of course suggestive that this is most definitely not a novel free of conventional literary devices, as perhaps would be implied by a novel written and conceived spontaneously. Once again, it would seem therefore that On the Road, and Kerouac’s work as a whole, is more evocative and suggestive of a spontaneous, ‘jazz’ style than actually being spontaneous in itself.
So if we were to acknowledge that a jazz influence cannot, at least directly, translate into Kerouac’s writing style, we must examine what other ways this music influences Kerouac’s literary technique. Aside from perhaps aiding the development of a certain spontaneous style, the most prominent way in which the aesthetics of jazz – and Bebop in particular – influences Kerouac’s style is through the way in which it instilled in Kerouac the confidence and inspiration to expand and riff upon a single image with great vivacity and evocativeness. Peter Townsend points this out in Jazz in American Culture, when he explains how this is achieved:
Kerouac also sees himself elaborating on particular images, descriptively or associatively, in the way that jazz musicians decorate or improvise on specific chords…Here Kerouac broaches the idea of improvisation, in writing as in jazz, as a means of access to a personal vision and source of creative imagery.
This is the crux then of how this jazz-inspired spontaneity manifests itself in Kerouac’s work: this idea of improvisation allows Kerouac not to create a free-flowing prose, but rather the ability to expound upon imagery in a way that is not possible through a more measured approach to writing. Take, for example, the following passage from the 1958 novel The Dharma Bums:
I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.
Here we see Kerouac presenting us with a specific image or feeling, namely the memories triggered by nature, and the perpetual familiarity of natural objects. However, what makes this passage stand out as strictly ‘Kerouacian’ is that rather than merely stating that ‘the woods…they always look familiar,’ he expands and provides variations upon this phrase, presenting the same statement in numerous different ways, with varying rhetorical devices, with one image bearing no relation to another aside from being derived from the same initial statement, much in the same way that a jazz musician would ‘riff’ and improvise upon a single theme. Though again, despite how vivid these passages are, they are but a small section of aspect Kerouac’s work as a whole; and again we must look back to the likes of Whitman and Cassady as other major influences on the development of this descriptive style.
We can see this concept that Kerouac’s love of jazz manifesting itself in his work not through a free-form prose style but as a ‘source of creative imagery,’ as Townsend notes, most prominently in his 1958 novella The Subterraneans. It is in this work that we are able to see this balance – and perhaps even conflict – between the two major ways in which jazz contributes to Kerouac’s literary style. It is in this novel that Kerouac’s free-flowing styling is both most prominent and most effective, and therefore the work in which a jazz influence is most noticeable on his literary technique; an aspect that does not go unnoticed by Ellis Amburn, who states in Subterranean Kerouac that ‘The Subterraneans seems to have been expelled in one long breath, like a heroic if overbearingly manic jazz riff…Whatever one thinks of the story, The Subterraneans is a stunning stream-of-consciousness feat that gives the impression of a single sentence blurted by a tortured, wild-eyed fanatic.’ Throughout the majority of Kerouac’s work these passages of ‘stunning stream-of-consciousness’ are separated by long passages of more conventional prose, and any jazz influence is somewhat subtle. In The Subterraneans, however, not only are these passages more frequent and more explicitly jazz influenced, it is the knowledge and nature of jazz that helps to structure both the narrative and form of the novel as a whole. It is in this work that Kerouac most prominently features jazz and jazz musicians not as a reference point for the construction of his literary technique, but as a basis for characters and plot itself. It is also here that jazz music is acting as a direct catalyst for Kerouac’s spontaneous style, as we can see in the following extract:
She stood in drowsy sun suddenly listening to bop as if for the first time as it poured out, the intention of the musicians and of the horns and instruments suddenly a mystical unity expressing itself in waves like sinister and again electricity but screaming with palpable aliveness the direct word from the vibration
We can see here that in this instance jazz is enabled to be simultaneously a ‘source of creative imagery’ and also the actual image that Kerouac chooses to convey. With this in mind then, in addition to the knowledge that Jazz is just a small aspect of the construction of Kerouac’s style, it seems apparent that this music influences Kerouac more as an aspiration towards a certain aesthetic style, rather than a direct template as to the composition of his work. For Kerouac the style or idea of jazz music is important to the composition of his prose, rather than its technical, actual musical qualities, with a more direct influence coming from such literary reference points as Whitman. As Paul McCann suggests in Race, Music and National Identity: Images of Jazz in American Fiction, 1920-1960, ‘Kerouac identifies very little about the musical structures of jazz…It is not jazz music, but rather the jazz performer, that most fascinates Kerouac in his essays as well as in his novels.’ It seems then that it is the mystique or aesthetic value that is of major interest to Kerouac, rather than functioning as a direct musical inspiration; and so we cannot assume that jazz has a major influence on the construction of his literary style, at least in any literal sense.
Thus we see how the line between the perception of jazz in Kerouac’s work and the way in which it directly influences his literary style is significantly blurred. While Kerouac himself explicitly acknowledges a love and influence of jazz to such a degree that its impact on his work cannot be ignored, on the other hand upon closer analysis it becomes apparent that this music is not as prominent within this prose style as even Kerouac himself cares to admit. It could be argued then that this level of mystique and impenetrability of analysis around Kerouac’s prose technique is perhaps just another aspect to the wider mythology that is constructed around his work, life and persona. This idea of a constructed mythology is perhaps the most accurate explanation for Kerouac professing to be a ‘jazz poet,’ despite jazz not necessarily being an explicit and direct influence upon his compositional technique. Whatever the reasons for doing so, the fact remains that jazz is by no means as prominent in Kerouac’s work as is apparent at first, and that it is rather a single aspect of the multitude of sources that Kerouac draws from.
So in conclusion, there is a great contradiction evident throughout Jack Kerouac’s work with regards to the influence that jazz music has on the construction of his prose technique. For while Kerouac himself perhaps overstates the importance of this music to his work, it remains just one of many influences upon his own unique style, as it is impossible to ignore the fact that, as William T. Lawlor points out in Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons and Impact, ‘Kerouac’s writing clearly arises from multifarious sources.’ Thus the success of Kerouac’s style lies in the fact that he draws from a multitude of different cultures, art forms and periods in time when constructing his own unique literary style. The fact that jazz is one of these sources leads to the impression that depending on which particular novel one is examining, jazz is either impossible to ignore when analysing Kerouac’s work, an inessential afterthought or just one element of an eclectic range of influences. It is perhaps Kerouac’s great success in combining these influences that ensures a great difficulty in determining their origin and importance. However, despite this we are certainly assured of the importance of certain influences: whether subtly or explicitly, the presence of Kerouac’s love of jazz is perpetually present in his work throughout the entirety of his career. As Larry Kart points out, ‘Kerouac’s desire to be part of “the Jazz Century” led to a prose that was, at best, jazz-like from the inside out, whether jazz was in the foreground…or nowhere to be seen.’ Thus we see that while jazz may not be as intrinsic to the development of Jack Kerouac’s literary style as it at first may seem, its influence cannot be dismissed or ignored.
 Larry Kart, Jazz in Search of Itself (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004) p.330
 Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody (London: Granada Publishing, 1980), p.516-17
 R.J. Ellis, Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac – Novelist (London: Greenwich Exchange, 1999), p.20
 Jack Kerouac, ‘Essentials of Spontaneous Prose’ in The Penguin Book of the Beats, ed. by Ann Charters (London: Penguin Publishing, 1992), pp.57-8, p.57
 Ellis Amburn, Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac (New York: St Martin’s Griffin, 1998), p.48
 Larry Kart, Jazz in Search of Itself, p.334
 Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues (242 Choruses), (New York: Grove Press, 1959), p.i
 Peter Townsend, Jazz in American Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000) p.148
 Paul Maher Jr., Kerouac: His Life and Work (Lanham: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004), p.165
 Walt Whitman, ‘Song of Myself’ in The Norton Anthology of American Literature: 1820-1865, 7th edn, ed. Nina Baym (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007), pp.2210-2256, p.2219-20
 R.J. Ellis, Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac – Novelist, p.20-1
 Paul Maher Jr., Kerouac: His Life and Work, p.153
 Ellis Amburn, Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac, p.161
 David Sanderson and Graham Vickers, Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of a Beat Hero (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2006) p.196-197
 Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues (242 Choruses), p.i
 Peter Townsend Jazz in American Culture, p.148
 R.J. Ellis, Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac – Novelist, p.21
 Matt Theado, Understanding Jack Kerouac (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press), p.33
 Tim Hunt, Kerouac’s Crooked Road: Development of a Fiction (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996), p.2
 R.J. Ellis, Liar! Liar! Jack Kerouac – Novelist, p.21
 Peter Townsend, Jazz in American Culture, p.117
 John Leland, Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They’re Not What You Think), (New York: Viking Books, 2007), p.8
 Peter Townsend, Jazz in American Culture, p.147
 Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (London: Penguin Books, 2000), p.54
 Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, p.54
 Peter Townsend, Jazz in American Culture, p.147
 Ellis Amburn, Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac, p.195
 Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans (New York: Evergreen Books, 1958), p.34
 Peter Townsend, Jazz in American Culture, p.147
 Paul McCann, Race, Music and National Identity: Images of Jazz in American Culture (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2008) p.149
 Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues (242 Choruses), p.i
 William T. Lawlor, Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons and Impact (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005), p.153
 Larry Kart, Jazz in Search of Itself, p.335