Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kerouac as an innovator?

Okay, I need to confess....I had a copy of this book when it first came out and it was when I was a lot younger and the idea of having tape recorded transcripts as part of a book was not something that I was "having" at the time. I was maybe 19 when the book came out and I had read a bit about Kerouac enough to know that this was a book that had not yet been published but was an underground hit. But I thought it was boring as hell so I gave it to someone along the trail of my life. It's been an interesting and long path now, and I happened across another copy of this book.

I have since read the "cut-up" novels by William Burroughs and the tape recorded "novels" transcribed by Paul Bowles. The main reason I am bringing this up is that Visions of Cody was written in 1951-52 and a bit over 15 years later Andy Warhol became known as a "novelist" for his A which was a book that was entirely composed of recorded conversations.

1952 was before Brion Gysin's "accidental" discovery of cut-ups by about 5 years as well. Nowadays, no one would think twice of using technology to create fiction. I am aware of a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose "alter ego" is a computer-generated 'poet' and this person's poetry is being published in journals - unaware of the hoax, if that's what it is - yet for me at THAT time, I didn't think much of his experimentations. Hopefully I have grown since then.

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