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Lot 175

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Kerouac Private Printing: "Not Long Ago Joy Abounded At Christmas" Written by Jack Kerouac in 1957

"Not Long Ago Joy Abounded At Christmas". Written by Jack Kerouac in 1957, the same year as the publication of his iconic masterpiece, "On The Road". This copy was then later privately printed posthumously as a 5.5" x 8.25", 5 page pamphlet by Kerouac's Wife, Stella Kerouac, in 1988, Boston, Mass. Stella also inscribed the front fly leaf to her brother, John Sampas, "To my dear brother John, Love Stella". Stamped on the title page with the Jack Kerouac Estate stamp and bearing the raised blind seal from Executor of the Estate, John Sampas. John Shen-Sampas is the son of John Sampas, who was the brother-in-law of Jack Kerouac, and the brother of Stella Kerouac, Jack's wife. Unknown printing size but likely extremely small. Fine condition soft red outer wraps, bound with two staples.

Consisting of one short story/essay - more of a reflection by Kerouac of the demise of the wonderment of Christmas and the Christmas spirit. The story was written with immense visual and emotional detail bringing the reader into Kerouac's life as a child, seeing Christmas through his eyes. Of importance here is to note how much Kerouac reveled in his Catholic upbringing. This again brings us full circle to understanding Kerouac's masterpiece, "On The Road", which according to him "was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God." It is therefore not a coincidence that during this same period, he would write about what he sees as the demise of the meaning of Christmas with the opening paragraph of this short piece of:

"I think the celebration of Christmas has changed within the short span of my own lifetime. Only twenty years ago, before World War II, it seems to me that Christmas was still being celebrated with a naive and joyous innocence whereas today you hear the expression that "Christmas comes once a year like taxes".

From this opening sentence, Kerouac then proceeds to describe the wonderment of his youthful experience with religion. Given the piece was written during the same period as "On the Road", the reader can see that at the heart of all his work, is the Catholic and Beat insistence upon an underlying spirituality that inhabits all creation. Kerouac saw the world, and everything in it, as Holy. In his view, all experience was an opportunity to, as Wordsworth put it, “see into the life of things.” And as Sal Paradise (Kerouac) and Dean Moriarty and all the other rogues, misfits and castaways of “On the Road” go tearing about the country in a wild ecstasy, their adventures of reckless abandon really become inquiries into what are the real values, truths and myths of America. What they expose is phony and sad. This similar haunting revelation about human nature is also touched upon within this piece by Kerouac "Not Long Ago Joy Abounded At Christmas".

An extraordinary privately printed piece. Offering great insight into the mind of Jack. We have not seen another copy.

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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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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