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Sad Paradise: Jack Kerouac’s Nostalgic Buddhism

Liberal Arts & Sciences Department, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455, USA
Religions 2019, 10(4), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040266
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the United States and Canada)
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Abstract

Jack Kerouac’s study of Buddhism started in earnest in 1953 and is traditionally believed to have ended in 1958. This paper considers the relationship between Kerouac’s Buddhist practice and his multi-layered nostalgia. Based on a close reading of his unpublished diaries from the mid-1950s through mid-1960s, I argue that Buddhism was a means of coping with his suffering and spiritual uncertainty. Kerouac’s nostalgic Buddhism was a product of orientalist interpretations of the religion that allowed him to replace his idealized version of his past with an idealized form of Buddhism. View Full-Text
Keywords: Buddhism; Kerouac; Buddhism in America; nostalgia Buddhism; Kerouac; Buddhism in America; nostalgia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Haynes, S.F. Sad Paradise: Jack Kerouac’s Nostalgic Buddhism. Religions 2019, 10, 266.

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