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The Cosmology: Doctor Sax

  • Nancy M. Grace

Abstract

It was July 1949 when Kerouac wrote in his journal that On the Road dealt with problems of the soul, while Doctor Sax—Faust Part 3, which he was writing simultaneously, was “mere language and mystery” (WW 206). The derogatory “mere” clarifies his belief that literature claiming an immense metaphysical theme such as the soul warranted greater merit than other literary endeavors. However, Kerouac later came to look much more fondly on Doctor Sax, which he completed in 1952 after he had developed his method of spontaneous prose through the drafting of On the Road and Visions of Cody. The book is a tour de force of language and genre—rich religious symbolism, camera shots, poetry, myths, parodies, and, as Gerald Nicosia observes, “a mixture of modern American idioms, traditional Yankeeisms, and Shakespearean grandiloquence, of neologisms and puns” (410). In the service of the soul as the supreme theme of art and as breathtaking polyglot fused with visionary and cinematic fabula, Doctor Sax wields the guise of comicbook fiction, East European mythology, and autobiography to create a mid-twentieth-century cosmology—the story of how the universe came to be and how it functions.

Keywords

Mold Bark Pyramid Ghost Metaphor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Nancy M. Grace 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy M. Grace

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