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A forthcoming biography by Joyce Johnson about Jack Kerouac is being touted for dismantling the myth that Kerouac wrote his classic On the Road in a torrential storm of genius energy*. Johnson dated Kerouac for a couple of years in the 1950s and claims that Kerouac revised his manuscript and scrupulously edited it paragraph by paragraph. Not too hip, I suppose, is the takeaway.
That myth may very well be overturned, but in the process of telling the story, Johnson lends more evidence to another completely different myth. This brief passage from a Business Insider blurb will strike familiar chords:
Johnson, now 77, describes him as a “very odd person” who treated her dreadfully but was the love of her life. She delves more deeply into his background, his childhood and his rise to fame and chronicles the toll his celebrity status and his drinking took on their relationship.
She was 21 when she met Kerouac. “Jack was without a place to live and had no money. Since I was a young writer who had her own apartment, Allen [Ginsberg] set up a blind date.” They were together for two years.