A guide to the Duluoz Legend and other related works - by Dave Moore

In his preface to Big Sur, Jack Kerouac stated that his work comprised "one vast book like Proust's," and that his novels On the Road, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, Doctor Sax, Maggie Cassidy, Tristessa, Desolation Angels, and Big Sur, were merely chapters in the whole work which he called The Duluoz Legend.

He went on to say that because of publishers' objections he was not allowed to use the same personae names in each book, but that he one day intended to go through his work and re-insert uniform character names, "and die happy."

Kerouac was never able to perform this renaming exercise, and as a result, the multiplicity of character names in his novels is a source of confusion for many readers.

This present work aims at easing that problem by showing the links between the characters in all of his writings, as well as attempting to identify the real persons on whom the characterisations were based.

Since the characters in the Duluoz Legend covered a wide coterie of friends and acquaintances, some of whom were also writers who drew characters from the same pool, the relevant works of these writers have also been included in this study.

One section of the guide provides a character key to each of Kerouac's works, as well as to the work of other related writers:

  • Works covered, and individual character keys

  • Another section gathers together all of this information in the form of a complete alphabetical list of the 600 characters involved, together with brief biographical details and images, where available:

  • Complete list of characters

  • Kerouac's family played an important part in his life and work, and genealogical charts of both his father's and his mother's families are also provided:

  • Kerouac family tree
  • L'Evesque family tree

  • NOTE: Complete biographical information about the more prominent characters is widely available online and elsewhere, and so is minimal here, where most attention has been given to the more obscure individuals.

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