American novelist, born in Lowell, Mass., studied at Columbia Univ. One of the leaders of the beat generation, he was the author of On the Road (1957), the novel considered to be the testament of the beat movement. Kerouac's writings reflect a frenetic, restless pursuit of new sensation and experience, and a disdain for the conventional measures of economic and social success. Among his other works are the novels The Subterraneans (1958), The Dharma Bums (1958), Big Sur (1962), and Desolation Angels (1965); a volume of poetry, Mexico City Blues (1959); and a volume describing Kerouac's dreams, Book of Dreams (1961).
See biographies by Ann Charters (1973), D. McNally (1980), and Gerald Nicosia (1988); studies by Tim Hunt (1981) and R. Weinreich (1986).