Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

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9780140283570: Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

National Book Critics Circle Award-winner,   Minor Characters has deservedly become  known among the cognoscenti as a classic about the  1950s, a vivid and compelling memoir of one  woman's coming of age amidst the angels and poets of  the Beat Generation. The friend and lover of Jack  Kerouac during the two years surrounding the  publication of On The Road --the book  that made him suddenly and forever famous--Johnson  describes with penetrating insight the circle of  rebellious visionaries of which she became a part:  Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, LeRoi Jones,  Gregory Corso. But more than just chronicling the drama  of her life with a diffident and often drunken  Kerouac, Johnson describes the roles that she and the  other women in her circle played as companions and  acolytes to their male muses, women who set aside  their own needs and ambitions, for a time, even as  they searched to find their own voices and shape  their own lives. As Christopher Lehmann-Haupt  wrote in The New York Times,  Johnson "has brought to life what history may  ultimately judge to have been minor characters, but who  were to her own generation major enough to shape  its consciousness." Anchor Books is proud to  be reissuing Minor Characters  with a new introduction by the author that helps to  place the Beat Generation in the context of the  1990s.



"Realistic rather than  flamboyant, Johnson succeeds in portraying the  Beats not as oddities or celebrities but as  individuals. In wry retrospect, she recognizes the folly  of young women rebelling against their well-meaning  parents only to become subservient to indifferent  men."-- The New Yorker  



"Johnson writes of Dostoevskian  evenings, of Kerouac's disastrous confrontation  with fame...of the major Beat voices and the minor  characters, their women. It's a terrific book,  rich and beautifully written, full of vivid portraits  and evocations."-- San Francisco  Chronicle

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
"Among the great American literary memoirs of the past century. . .a riveting portrait of an era. . .Johnson captures this period with deep clarity and moving insight." - Dwight Garner, The New York Times

In 1954, Joyce Johnson's Barnard professor told his class that most women could never have the kinds of experiences that would be worth writing about. Attitudes like that were not at all unusual at a time when "good" women didn't leave home or have sex before they married; even those who broke the rules could merely expect to be minor characters in the dramas played by men. But secret rebels, like Joyce and her classmate Elise Cowen, refused to accept things as they were.
As a teenager, Johnson stole down to Greenwich Village to sing folksongs in Washington Square. She was 21 and had started her first novel when Allen Ginsberg introduced her to Jack Kerouac; nine months later she was with Kerouac when the publication of On the Road made him famous overnight. Joyce had longed to go on the road with him; instead she got a front seat at a cultural revolution under attack from all sides; made new friends like Hettie and LeRoi Jones, and found herself fighting to keep the shy, charismatic, tormented Kerouac from destroying himself. It was a woman's adventure and a fast education in life. What Johnson and other Beat Generation women would discover were the risks, the heartache and the heady excitement of trying to live as freely as the rebels they loved.

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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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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Open market ed. 200 x 136 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Among the great American literary memoirs of the past century. . .a riveting portrait of an era. . .Johnson captures this period with deep clarity and moving insight. - Dwight Garner, The New York Times In 1954, Joyce Johnson s Barnard professor told his class that most women could never have the kinds of experiences that would be worth writing about. Attitudes like that were not at all unusual at a time when good women didn t leave home or have sex before they married; even those who broke the rules could merely expect to be minor characters in the dramas played by men. But secret rebels, like Joyce and her classmate Elise Cowen, refused to accept things as they were. As a teenager, Johnson stole down to Greenwich Village to sing folksongs in Washington Square. She was 21 and had started her first novel when Allen Ginsberg introduced her to Jack Kerouac; nine months later she was with Kerouac when the publication of On the Road made him famous overnight. Joyce had longed to go on the road with him; instead she got a front seat at a cultural revolution under attack from all sides; made new friends like Hettie and LeRoi Jones, and found herself fighting to keep the shy, charismatic, tormented Kerouac from destroying himself. It was a woman s adventure and a fast education in life. What Johnson and other Beat Generation women would discover were the risks, the heartache and the heady excitement of trying to live as freely as the rebels they loved. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140283570

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Open market ed. 200 x 136 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Among the great American literary memoirs of the past century. . .a riveting portrait of an era. . .Johnson captures this period with deep clarity and moving insight. - Dwight Garner, The New York Times In 1954, Joyce Johnson s Barnard professor told his class that most women could never have the kinds of experiences that would be worth writing about. Attitudes like that were not at all unusual at a time when good women didn t leave home or have sex before they married; even those who broke the rules could merely expect to be minor characters in the dramas played by men. But secret rebels, like Joyce and her classmate Elise Cowen, refused to accept things as they were. As a teenager, Johnson stole down to Greenwich Village to sing folksongs in Washington Square. She was 21 and had started her first novel when Allen Ginsberg introduced her to Jack Kerouac; nine months later she was with Kerouac when the publication of On the Road made him famous overnight. Joyce had longed to go on the road with him; instead she got a front seat at a cultural revolution under attack from all sides; made new friends like Hettie and LeRoi Jones, and found herself fighting to keep the shy, charismatic, tormented Kerouac from destroying himself. It was a woman s adventure and a fast education in life. What Johnson and other Beat Generation women would discover were the risks, the heartache and the heady excitement of trying to live as freely as the rebels they loved. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140283570

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