"Orpheus Emerged"

Jack Kerouac's lost 1945 novella has been rediscovered and given new life as an e-book.

Published November 13, 2000 8:30PM (EST)

New York in the early 1940s was the Emerald City for hipsters, intellectuals and young people on a quest for pleasure at any cost. It is the first and most important stop on Jack Kerouac's celebrated journey from innocence to experience.

The novella "Orpheus Emerged" was written when Kerouac was only 23 and shortly after he met Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr and others in and around Columbia University. These new friends would form the core of the group of writers known as the Beats. Set in an urban university, the story follows the obsessions, passions, conflicts and dreams of a group of bohemian intellectuals. At its core is a petit roman ` clef -- a portrait of an artist as a young man torn between life and art. The story shows a writer searching for the voice that would speak for a generation.

"Orpheus Emerged" has remained unpublished for over 50 years, and has now been released as a Glassbook e-book from LiveREADS. This book is only available in e-book format at BN.com.

Listen to this excerpt from the novella, read by actor Erik Jensen, who recently appeared on NBC's "Deadline."

By Read by Erik Jensen

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