Never published in Kerouac’s lifetime, this 1955 biography of the founder of Buddhism recounts the story of Prince Siddhartha’s journey from the privilege of court life to his adoption of a homeless lifestyle, his struggles with meditations and eventual enlightenment.
Never before published in Kerouac’s lifetime, Jack Kerouac’s Wake Up is a clear and powerful study of the life and works of Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, from the author of On the Road. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Robert Thurman.
Wake Up recounts the story of Prince Siddhartha’s royal upbringing and his father’s wish to protect him from all human suffering, despite a prediction that he would become a great holy man in later life. Departing from his father’s palace, Siddhartha adopts a homeless life, struggles with his meditations, and eventually finds Enlightenment. Written at the end of Kerouac’s career, when he became increasingly interested in Buddhist teachings, and collected for the first time in one book, this fresh and accessible biography is both an important addition to Kerouac’s work and a valuable introduction to the world of Buddhism itself.
Jack Kerouac (1922-69) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. His first published novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, published in 1957, that made Kerouac famous. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Subterraneans, Big Sur, and The Dharma Bums. Kerouac died in Florida at the age of forty-seven.
If you enjoyed Wake Up, you might like Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
‘[Kerouac] defines the attitudes of an entire generation’