Charles Shuttleworth


I have been teaching a senior elective English course entitled Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation at the Harker School in San Jose, California, since 2015. I first taught the course in 1994 while teaching at the Horace Mann School in New York City, and while doing so I interviewed three dozen of Kerouac’s former HM classmates and presented my findings on Kerouac’s experience at Horace Mann at the Beat Generation Conference at NYU that spring. My paper on the subject, entitled “Portal of Promise,” was used as source material for Steve Turner’s Angelheaded Hipster (1996). Since 2017 I have again been engaged in extensive research on Jack Kerouac both in the New York Public Library and UMass Lowell’s Kerouac archives. The focus of my study has been on Kerouac’s Buddhist period (1954-’57), examining the circumstances and methods of his output’s composition. Beat Scene has published four of my essays, and I have longer studies still to be published including two book-length manuscripts: Kerouac’s Collected Writings from Desolation Peak, which with the support of the Kerouac estate I have transcribed and edited, writing the Introduction and notes; and a Guide to the Scripture of the Golden Eternity. I also was the Moses Greeley Parker lecturer for the 2020 Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival. My primary goals are to raise appreciation for Kerouac’s work during this period and to debunk the perception that Kerouac’s method was entirely spontaneous. Especially in works that were handwritten first drafts, the editing that occurred when he sat down to type his manuscripts constitutes another layer of his artistry.