Jack Kerouac: Old Angel Midnight

(594 words)
  • R. J. Ellis (University of Birmingham)

Old Angel Midnight is perhaps best described as a species of prose poem, written over a number of years. It consists of sixty-seven relatively short, often semi-autonomous sections (some sections are very short, some clearly interrelate). Overall, though, the work is unified by its over-arching commitment to literary and linguistic experimentation. In a letter to John Clellon Holmes Kerouac called it “automatic writing”, but it is much less what Yeats or the surrealists had in mind than writing without any attempt to “censor or alter his expression”. In Old Angel Midnight Kerouac pays close attention to language shapes and – above all – sounds. Many sections are stimulated by listening and responding to …

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Citation:
Ellis, R. J.. "Old Angel Midnight". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 April 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21640, accessed 27 August 2014.]