Legend of Underground Literature: Jack Kerouac – “The Voice is All”


Jack Kerouac, born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac, (1922 –1969) was an American novelist and poet. Born March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, he was the son of Leo Kerouac, a printer, and Gabrielle Levesque, a factory worker. He did not speak English until he was five years old, using instead a combination of French and English used by the many French-Canadians who settled in New England. At the age of eleven he began writing novels and made-up accounts of horse races, football games, and baseball games. He received a football scholarship to Columbia University in New York City and arrived there in 1940 where he began to pursue an interest in literature and studied, in particular, the style of writer Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938). In 1941 Kerouac had an argument with Columbia’s football coach and left school.
Kerouac worked briefly at a gas station and as a sports reporter for a newspaper in Lowell. In 1943 he joined the Navy, but he was honorably discharged after six months. He spent the war years working as a merchant seaman and hanging around Columbia with such writers as William Burroughs (1914–1997) and Allen Ginsburg (1926–1997). He wrote two novels during this time, The Sea Is My Brother and And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, with Burroughs.
In 1947 Neal Cassady visited New York and asked Kerouac to give him writing lessons. When Cassady returned to Denver, Colorado, Kerouac followed. After a brief time in Denver, Kerouac wandered into California, beginning a four-year period of travel throughout the West. When not on the road, he was in New York working on his novel The Town and The City, (1950). Kerouac then began to experiment with a more natural writing style. In April, 1951, Kerouac threaded a huge roll of paper into his typewriter and wrote the single 175,000-word paragraph that became On The Road. The more than 100-foot scroll was written in three weeks but was not published for seven years. Sal and Neal, the main characters, scoff at established values and live by a romantic code born out off the West. They are described as “performing our one noble function of the time, move.” In between writing On The Road and its publication, Kerouac took many road trips, became depressed and addicted to drugs and alcohol, and did his most ambitious writing. When On The Road was published in 1957, Kerouac became instantly famous, a spokesman for the “Beat Generation”, young people in the 1950s and 1960s who scorned middle-class values. His classic book became the bible of the countercultural generation. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.
He frequently appeared drunk, and interviews with him usually turned into arguments. In 1958 he wrote The Dharma Bums, a follow-up to On The Road. He then stopped writing for four years. By 1960 he was an alcoholic and had suffered a nervous breakdown. On October 21st, 1969, at the age of 47, while watching the Galloping Gourmet on television, with a pad in his lap and pen in his hand, Jack Kerouac began to hemorrhage and died hours later, a classic alcoholic’s death. He impressed many famous figures such as

the Doors, Lenny Bruce. Doors, Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan. Since his death, his literary reputation has grown, and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, including his poetry.

He is buried with the rest of his family near Lowell. His grave has been a site of pilgrimage for decades. Mourners leave cigarettes and joints, as well as dollar shots with a sip inside, should he wake up thirsty. Poets impale poems on the pens that wrote them, which are planted in the dirt like a stockade fence to protect the flat, original plaque. The grave received a new headstone in 2014, a waist-high granite slab inscribed with his signature, and his line, “The Road is Life”. The original flat headstone (see image above) remains just in front of the new one, six stones up and three stones deep.

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Memories (Paris) 2

Ok so this is the second time I’m visiting Sheakspeare & Co bookshop in Paris. With the same feelings, same joy and same excitement. This time I left another note and hopefully next time I will leave another one too. This bookshop has been particularly a special place for me since I’ve watched Before Sunset’s first part. As Celine and Jess’s love was quite naive and the way of their talking about life in general, quite philopically, I feel very attached to this place. Additionally, a superb movie by Woody Allen – Midnight In Paris – made it double worth it for me to see again. So in my second visit to Sheakspeare and Co I felt the same intense feelings and spent some time around the bookshop. This time, like my first arrival to the store in 2013 (http://wp.me/p37uMp-an) ,  I stumbled upon another amazing books. First volumes of some Tolstoy, Krushchevs and others… it was all really nice. Finally, let me share the latest note by me. See you on the next trip. x


Ego  

Ego is a word that has a negative connotation in society but don’t confuse the perceived definition of ego with the actual one. Ego is associated with self-esteem, drive and determination, it only becomes negative when it is selfish. Leaders are by nature proud people and it is doubtful that a person claiming to have no ego would likely climb to the top of any profession or organization. The constant challenge is avoiding the threat of the dreaded ego trip, a destination that is fuelled by the constant need for feeding to the point that sense of true direction is lost.

Pride and ego can blind people and often makes them guilty of unwise choices and rash decisions that they may later come to regret. Pride can cloud judgment and cause emotional stupidity. The only thing worse than wounded pride is taking action based on the state of mind that it creates. Many leaders have severely limited their ability to lead because of pride and ego. An out of control ego can become so over inflated that it can come crashing down like a house of cards if left untended.

Keeping your ego in check or under control is essential decisions and actions taken that are fueled by an out of control ego or blind pride can be regretful ones. The problem is, people who are way out of control in this regard are typically too foolish to recognize or admit that they had blundered.

Italo Calvino reveals “Why Read the Classics?”

“A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off.”

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Italo Calvino (15 October 1923 – 19 September 1985) was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952–1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979).

Admired in Britain, Australia and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death.

The classics are those books about which you usually hear people saying: ‘I’m rereading…’, never ‘I’m reading….’ he says in the first chapter of this outstanding book and then goes on to show a contagious passion for great literature of all types.  Reading criticism of classics, he writes, is often a waste of time; reading, savoring, and rereading them is of much greater importance. However, many of these critical studies suffer from too much deference to the texts, and too few flights of critical fancy. The high points of the collection are the title essay and longer pieces presenting overviews of the work of great writers who were Calvino’s contemporaries.

I discovered Italo Calvino during my undergradute years and the first book I read of him was the “Why Read The Classics?”  If you are a classic book lover like me, this book is perfect for you. From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century’s most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light. So, today I want to talk about this fantastic book briefly.

Here are some highlights from the book;

First of all I like Stendhal because only the individual moral thriller, historical thriller, life exertion in it constitute a whole: this is the linear thriller of the novel. I like Pushkin, because it means clarity, irony and seriousness. I like Hemingway because it means simplicity, exaggeration, desire for happiness, sorrow. I like Stevenson because he’s flying. Chekhov is my companion, because he does not go any further than he goes. I like Conrad because he watches in deep water and does not sink. I like Tolstoy because sometimes I feel like “Oh, I understand now how you do it”, but I do not understand anything. I like Manzoni, because I hated it until yesterday. /…/ I like Gogol, because it is clearly, badly and distorted. I like Dostoyevsky because he crushes stories and characters consistently, angrily and irrationally. I like Balzac, because it is conservative. I like Kafka because it’s real. I like Maupassant because it’s superficial. I like Mansfield, because it’s smart. I like Fitzgerald because he is not happy with it. I like Radiguet, because youth never comes back. I like Svevo because I also need to get old..

All this is true both of the ancient and of the modern classics. If I read the Confessions, but I cannot forget all that the spiritual adventure of Tolstoy have come to mean in the course of the centuries, and I cannot help wondering if these meanings were implicit in the text, or whether they are distortions or expansions. When reading Kafka, I cannot avoid approving or rejecting the legitimacy of the adjective “Kafkaesque,” which one is likely to hear every quarter of an hour, applied indiscriminately. If I read Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons or Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, I cannot help thinking how these characters have continued to be reincarnated right down to our own day.

 The reading of a classic must give us a surprise or two vis a vis the notion that we had of it.  A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way.

His name is Saladin, A Life Of A Legend.

“I am Saladin. When I’m not King, I quake for Islam.”

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“Ask anyone in the Eastern Mediterranean to name their greatest hero of all time, the answer is without a pause is certainly Saladin.” – John Man, The Life of Legend

Salahaddin Eyyubi, popularly known in the West as Saladin, was a courageous and brilliant Muslim leader during the 12th century. His firm foundation in the religion and its prime values, leading to his commitment to the Islamic cause, enabled him to accomplish great things.

His Eyyubid Empire united dynasty of Egypt and Syria. Above all, he played an instrumental role in turning the tide against the Crusaders by successfully reclaiming Jerusalem and earned a name for himself in the annals of both Muslim and Western history.

Known as Saladin in the West, Salah al Din al Ayubi was born in 1138 in Tikrit. Saladin, a Kurdish warrior, became the Sultan of Egypt and known as a champion of Islam. Salah al Din became a legend in the East and West for his role in clearing the Crusaders from Jerusalem. His capture of Jerusalem, and the Muslim triumph that followed, gave him a remarkable place in the pages of history. The rise of a new, unified Islamic state centered in Egypt was accomplished by the skilled leadership of Saladin.

The First Crusade captured Jerusalem in June 1099, amid a horrible massacre of the inhabitants. In 1174, Saladin began his expansion of his territory. In just twelve years he conquered Damascus, Alleppo, and Iraq. Saladin united the efforts of Egypt and Baghdad, and preached to the Muslim world to rise in a Jihad, a Holy War, a counter crusade, of all the Muslims against the Christians. Gathering a large force of Muslims of various groups, called Saracens by the Christians, Saladin set out to attack the Christians. Saladin attacked the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187, and after three months of fighting he gained control of the city.

When Jerusalem fell to Saladin, all of Christendom called for a new crusade. In 1189, the nations of western Europe launched the Third Crusade to win back the holy city. During the Third Crusade, led by King Richard the Lionhearted, the King arranged for supplies to be accumulated and ships used to deliver them to his troops as they marched along the coast; however, when the King finally marched inland to besiege Jerusalem, he found that Saladin had stripped the countryside of food and fodder. The wells had been poisoned and Richard realized that his army would fall apart from starvation if he tried to besiege Jerusalem. The crusaders had to settle for a treaty with Saladin that guaranteed Christian pilgrims access to the Holy Places.

The death of Saladin in 1193 led Pope Innocent III to inaugurate the Fourth Crusade, but they could not defeat the empire that Saladin had established. The Ayyubid dynasty, founded by Salah al-Din ibn Ayyub, ruled Egypt and Syria from 1169 to 1250 CE. In some regions of upper Mesopotamia and Yemen, their rule continued until the end of the 15th century.

Historical sources indicate that Hazrat Moses died on a mountain in Jerusalem by the city of Jericho. Eyyubi ruler Salahaddin Ayyubi (1138-1193) is located in the historical sources of Jerusalem, where he saw the burial place of the tomb in 1187 and then built a tomb together with the complex.

 

 

Sources: Saudi Aramco World, (January-February 2002); “Tikrit.” Global Security

Modern Man’s Problem

Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible human beings who don’t know what they want?

One of the most common incompetence of the today’s world is lack of setting a life goal and working to achieve it. Many people lack of the understanding of how to do it, and do not seek the knowledge. They don’t know that they don’t know. This state can be referred to as unconscious inadequacy. Suppose, however, something happens in their life. They meet people. They read a book. They develop a friendship with someone who knows how to do it. They become aware that they have a need for setting a life goal. But they still lack the knowledge and skill to do the work.

I think life is essentially based on love. Whatever we are doing in this life is just because we want to be loved. Everything people struggle for: money, power, character, popularity, dignity is all because we want to be loved. Chasing love gives you the inspiration to move on in life. To me, family is everything. Religion also plays a key role in order to understand the meaning of life. When things get though in life, take them as hard tests and move on.

You have to fight when you feel defeated. When you feel failed, and when you feel your life is crumbled. A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in life. You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through a challenge, the strength begins to grow in you. Your challenge is to find those souls, and look for ways to guide them towards being masters of your own destiny.

The History of Terrorism: Zealots

This short paper explains the early Zealots from the perspective of terrorist typology as inspired by the great book of Reza Aslan’s “Zealot: The Life and Time of Jesus of Nazareth”.

Zealots “bigoted”- one of the very first terrorist organizations of history who “practice systematic terror” was operated in first century Palestine. One particularly the Zealots extreme group, perhaps a subgroup of the Zealots, was known in Latin as sicarii, meaning “violent men” or “dagger men” (sing. sicarius, possibly a morphological reanalysis), because of their policy of killing Jews opposed to their call for war against Rome. Perhaps many Zealots were sicarii simultaneously, and they may be the biryonim of the Talmud that were feared even by the Jewish sages of the Mishnah.

Infact, Zealots were “one of the four ‘philosophical’ sects of Judea”and launched an organized revolt against the Roman authorities beginning in 4 B.C.E. when they sought independence from Rome. JosephusJewish Antiquities states that there were three main Jewish sects at this time, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Zealots were a “fourth sect”, founded by Judas of Galilee (also called Judas of Gamala) in the year 6 against Quirinius’ tax reform, shortly after the Roman Empire declared what had most recently been the tetrarchy of Herod Archelaus to be a Roman province, and that they “agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord.”

The Zealots, whose religious and political aims were intrinsically linked, were trying to employ a brand of violence which relied upon the terrorist strategy of provocation, intimidation propaganda of deed. The Zealots like so many other terrorist organizations that followed, were able to effectively channel the humiliation felt by the population and direct it against a perceived enemy. The effectiveness of their organization is evident not only by the popular support they enjoyed, but by the fact that they were able to remain afloat for over fifty years.