University Archives

Lot 179

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Kerouac Personally Owned First Print "Myra Breckinridge", Estate Provenance and Legendary Significance

Little Brown And Company, 1968. Stated First Printing Hard cover. A very good hard cover in black cloth with two corner soft bumps. With the original nicked and chipped dust jacket, priced $5.95 to the front flap. Stamped on the half title page with both the Jack Kerouac Estate stamp, in addition to the raised blind seal from Executor of the Estate, John Sampas.

The background of both this book and it's author hold a bizarre legend that is off the literary radar, but appeared to be known amongst the Bohemian Best community. This somewhat ground breaking book by Gore Vidal was a satirical novel written in the form of a diary. Described as "part of a major cultural assault on the assumed norms of gender and sexuality which swept the western world in the late 1960s and early 1970s", the book's major themes are feminism, trans-sexuality, American expressions of machismo and patriarchy, and deviant sexual practices, as filtered through an aggressively camp sensibility. The controversial book is also "the first instance of a novel in which the main character undergoes a clinical sex-change". However, this story runs deeper as Kerouac and Vidal knew each other before "On The Road" was published, and what is known is that aside from the two mingling in the same circles, Vidal, Kerouac and William Burroughs hooked up one night in 1953 in Greenwich Village.

The three writers met at the San Remo bar the following year, after Burroughs return from Mexico. Vidal writes of Kerouac- “Hot night. Jack was manic. Sea captain’s hat. T-shirt. Like Marlon Brando in Streetcar. Drinking beer. Burroughs looked like a traveling salesman who had traveled too far in a wrinkled gray suit. He had published a good novel, Junkie under the name William Lee....Bill was quiet. Jack was loud. I suppose he was drunk." Burroughs asked about a Turkish bath in Rome that Vidal had described in "The Judgment of Paris". They moved on to Tony Pastor's, a lesbian bar, afterwards, Kerouac swung around a lamppost out front, a Tarzan routine that caused Burroughs to leave us in disgust. Vidal was ready to go back to his father's apartment uptown, but Kerouac had a different notion. The rest of the legend is "X" rated, however numerous accounts exist, and both authors were known have to written about that evening, Kerouac in this book "The Subterraneans", and Vidal in his book, "Palimpsest: A Memoir"

As for that night? The truth has been shrouded by time. But what we can say, is this is not just a regular hardback copy casually owned by Kerouac.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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August 19, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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Bid Increments
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$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000