Following the explosive energy of On the Road comes The Dharma Bums in which Kerouac charts the spiritual quest of a group of friends in search of Dharma or Truth. Ray Smith and his friend Japhy, along with Morley the yodeller, head off into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude and experience the Zen way of life. But in wildly bohemian San Francisco, with its poetry jam sessions, marathon drinking bouts and experiments in 'yabyum', they find the ascetic route distinctly hard to follow.
Jack Kerouac wrote a number of hugely influential and popular novels. He is remembered as one of the key figures of the legendary Beat generation. As much as anything, he came to represent a philosophy, a way of life.Ann Douglas is Professor of Comparativ