Kerouac’s new, lost novel: “The Sea is My Brother.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 1, 2009
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sea is my brother kerouac

Photo: Allen Ginsberg.

Excerpt re Harper’s publication of The Sea is My Brother, writ when Kerouac was a merchant seaman. Via The Guardian:

…which he wrote during his years as a merchant seaman, is to be published in its entirety for the first time.

Described by Kerouac as being about “man’s simple revolt from society as it is, with the inequalities, frustration, and self-inflicted agonies”, the 158-page handwritten manuscript was Kerouac’s first novel, but was not published during his lifetime. He wrote in his notes for the project that the characters were “the vanishing American, the big free by, the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes”.

The novel follows the fortunes of Wesley Martin, a man who Kerouac said “loved the sea with a strange, lonely love; the sea is his brother and sentences. He goes down.” By contrast another sailor, Kerouac continued “escapes society for the sea, but finds the sea a place of terrible loneliness.”

The Sea is My Brother is part of a wave of previously unpublished work from the cult author that is only now coming to the surface. A 1945 collaboration with William Burroughs, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, was published for the first time in 2008. Last year also saw the first publication of Kerouac’s 1955 biography of the founder of Buddhism, Wake Up, while in 2007 the unexpurgated scroll of On the Road was released for the first time.

The manuscript of The Sea is My Brother, along with “correspondence and commentary illuminating his development as a young writer, including correspondence with his friend, the poet Sebastian Sampas”, has been acquired by Harper in the US, according to Publishers Marketplace. A publication date for the book has yet to be announced, and a UK deal for the book has yet to be struck.

“There is definitely ongoing interest in the unpublished Kerouac,” said Penguin Classics publisher Adam Freudenheim, who revealed that Penguin had done “extremely well” with both And The Hippos …, and the original On the Road scroll...for the rest, click here.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


6 Responses to “Kerouac’s new, lost novel: “The Sea is My Brother.””

  1. Liz says:

    <<The Sea is My Brother is part of a wave of previously unpublished work from the cult author that is only now coming to the surface.>> I'm skeptical. What is it's provenance? Where has this novel been all this time?

  2. Don’t stop posting such articles. I like to read blogs like this. BTW add some pics 🙂

  3. […] Jack Kerouac’s search for spiritual liberation produced his most well known book, the autobiographical novel, On The Road, about his drug fueled journey across the U.S. As a child, he experienced the death of his father and brother. He believed that his brother’s spirit followed him around as a guardian angel. He was antagonistic against all the name and fame that came with the Beats and died at the age of 47 of internal bleeding due to long-standing alcohol abuse. […]

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  5. paulmaherjr says:

    To Liz — the novel has always been in Kerouac's archive and available to researchers at the New York Public Library for at least 6 years now.

  6. […] Kerouac’s new, lost novel: “The Sea is My Brother.” […]