Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums manuscript will sell at Heritage

Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s original typescript manuscript for his third book, The Dharma Bums (1958), is coming to auction at Heritage on March 8.

Much like his first book, On the Road (1957), Kerouac originally wrote The Dharma Bums on a single scroll over the course of 11 days (fuelled by copious quantities of booze and narcotics).

Dharma Bums Kerouac

The Dharma Bums was Jack Kerouac's third book 

He then typed out the present manuscript before sending it on to his publisher, Viking Press.

However, Viking sent back the text with numerous changes to Kerouac’s original. This included the removal of some of the more sexually explicit sections.

While he had put up with this treatment with On the Road, this time around he was infuriated.  

On the cover he has written: "Dharma Bums Ms. (with Viking Press Changes that I rejected)" in angry red ink.

In a letter to girlfriend and fellow writer Joyce Glassman he explains: “I had to go to NY the other day mad as a hatter to contest Viking's shitty idea of making as much as 4,000 corrections on Dharma Bums.

“They said copy-editing hadnt hurt ROAD but that was a short-sentence style that couldnt be hurt.

“They agreed first to start all over again…if they are trying to sneak over their ersatz version of DB on me they've lost a writer..."

Despite this, a number of the changes appear in the final text.

The Dharma Bums is one of Kerouac’s most celebrated books and this lot is likely to be in high demand.

It’s expected to sell for in excess of $125,000.

The auction will also feature the famous “Joan Anderson” letter, sent by Neal Cassady to Kerouac in December 1950, which inspired Kerouac to start writing On the Road.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about book and manuscript auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock