Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

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Penguin, Jul 1, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
77 Reviews
Jack Kerouac. Allen Ginsberg. William S. Burroughs. LeRoi Jones. Theirs are the names primarily associated with the Beat Generation. But what about Joyce Johnson (nee Glassman), Edie Parker, Elise Cowen, Diane Di Prima, and dozens of others? These female friends and lovers of the famous iconoclasts are now beginning to be recognized for their own roles in forging the Beat movement and for their daring attempts to live as freely as did the men in their circle a decade before Women's Liberation.Twenty-one-year-old Joyce Johnson, an aspiring novelist and a secretary at a New York literary agency, fell in love with Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg nine months before the publication of On the Road made Kerouac an instant celebrity. While Kerouac traveled to Tangiers, San Francisco, and Mexico City, Johnson roamed the streets of the East Village, where she found herself in the midst of the cultural revolution the Beats had created. Minor Characters portrays the turbulent years of her relationship with Kerouac with extraordinary wit and love and a cool, critical eye, introducing the reader to a lesser known but purely original American voice: her own.

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Review: Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

User Review  - Goodreads

I have very little interest in (or patience for) Kerouac, as a writer or an icon. I grant that he was hugely influential to a great many people but I personally find his writing shallow and monotonous ... Read full review

Review: Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

User Review  - Roderick - Goodreads

Great book by Joyce Johnson, Jack Kerouac's "girlfriend"/companion/temporary love just prior to the publishing of "On the Road." A memoir concerning her role in the "Beat" movement, and musings on the ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Joyce Johnson is the author of three novels, including The Night Café. Her other books include Minor Characters, which was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957–1958.

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