Jack Kerouac: The Subterraneans

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

The Subterraneans tells the story of a brief, intense love-affair. Its narrator, Leo Percepied, a “Canuck” (i.e., from a poor French-Canadian background) becomes involved with Mardou Fox, half African-American and one quarter Cherokee. He sees her in a bar in San Francisco, where she hangs around with a bohemian group of writers, jazz-enthusiasts and intellectuals. Mardou has been emotionally damaged by some past relationships in this group and is wary of further entanglements. Leo, however, immediately as he sees her, determines to become involved. After a short courtship she goes to bed with him. For a while they enter into a highly-charged sexual relationship. However, quite rapidly, the affair starts to …

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Citation:
Ellis, R. J.. "The Subterraneans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 April 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7852, accessed 20 September 2014.]