What strikes me as odd about the Times article and its recommended Salon, Guardian and Newsweek articles, is how these “writers” have simply taken the general misunderstanding of Kerouac and other original “Beat” writers to another misconstruction of the beauty of the rough prose demonstrated by these very individual writers. While On the Road is a sad tale, broken up by flights of pure mad rushes, it far more than just the rocket ship that bore a generation (very few of which actually read Kerouac, or Burroughs for that matter). My feeling is that the modern reviewers of the original Beat literature are far more in the mold of Podhoretz, totally mangling the underlying current that runs through “On the Road.” I can’t help but notice the emphasis by these reviewers, placing intuition as a minor attribute. Isn’t intuition the essence of intelligence? Aren’t Podhoretz, George Will, whose 80’s newspaper article on Kerouac seethes with repressed jealousy, and their modern cronies really champion mere intellect, the minor attribute of intelligence? For it is indeed intuition that is celebrated in “On the Road,” shedding the ancient concept of intellect as the only and only crucible of civilization. Kerouac’s essence was his celebration of intuition, that forgotten gem of intelligence, shining its light for all but those who refuse to go along for the ride.
Robinson Crusoe deals with mastery and morality. It addresses the ability of mankind to master his surroundings through hard work, and patience and faith, which eventually enable him to survive on an
unknown island and able to cope with the difficult terrain, less-than-friendly natives and basically every wicked trial that comes his way. The morality addressed in this book is the eponymous protagonist’s rejection of his father’s advice to accept the happiness of the middle class life from which he was born. Against the wishes of his family, he runs off to sea to find adventure. It is not until Crusoe literally recreates a primitive approximation of that middle class life for himself on his island that he is freed.
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