The Dharma Bums

The Dharma Bums

Book - 1986
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Penguin Putnam
Jack Kerouac’s classic novel about friendship, the search for meaning, and the allure of nature

First published in 1958, a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac's most powerful and influential novels. The story focuses on two ebullient young Americans--mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder, and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer--whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco's Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras.

Baker & Taylor
During the 1950s the search for Buddhist truths takes two young Bohemians through a series of bizarre experiences in California

Publisher: New York : Penguin, 1986, c1958
ISBN: 9780140042528
Characteristics: 244 p. ; 19 cm


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Jan 15, 2015

While "On The Road" is considered a classic of American literature, "The Dharma Bums" is really Kerouac's finest work.
Beautifully written, the novel is bursting with poetry from nearly every line. The master of post-Whitman American literature and the founder of "spontaneous bop-prosody" gave us his clearest, best statement with this novel. There are passages in the Dharma Bums that are Shakespearean in their beauty.

Kerouac's reputation has suffered in recent years. Attacks from pedants in the academic community and the dry bones of the New Yorker magazine mentality have all but buried his accomplishments.
Allegations that he was a misogynist and misanthrope ( he was in fact, neither ) have further eroded his stature. But Kerouac changed the course of American literature; and more than that, he was an incredibly great writer. "Come on back, ghost, and give 'em the key".

Feb 21, 2011

In this book Jack Kerouac takes the reader back to a time that you will wish you could actually live in. The story will feel at times like it has no purpose or trajectory, but then it speeds up and you can hardly grasp it. Such is life! Beautifully written, it is my absolute favorite depiction of the beat generation.

Dec 29, 2010


Has Kerouacs spirit for sure, but he gets a little too into the superficial Zen ideas.

A book that loves Zen and wants to be Zen, but is too caught up with the idea on a surface level.

Instead of just writing, Kerouac tries really hard to do something.

Still definitely worth reading. Kerouac's spirit breaks through.

Much like 'On the Road' it will make you want to go an adventure.

If your interested in Zen writing look into Salinger and Henry Miller.


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