Friday, March 04, 2011

Phamily man

Carolyn Cassady/Guardian

""Idolised for his fast driving, hyperactive energy and voracious reading habits, Neal was the perfect Beat character, and his autobiographical writings were published posthumously as The First Third. "To sit still and write was agony for him," recalls Carolyn. "He said he'd think of a word and he'd think of 10 others." Instead, Neal dashed off free-flowing letters that influenced Kerouac's style.

The two married in 1948 and spent the next 20 years observing the Beats. Sort of. "I'm one of the last survivors and, of course, I wasn't a part of it really," says Carolyn. Certainly, there are no images of her in Angelheaded Hipsters, which takes its title from the opening lines of Howl: ". . . angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night."

""Although she had a Neal-sanctioned affair with Kerouac, Carolyn was very much the stay-at-home housewife, a middle-class "status symbol" for her husband, who lived a double live of domesticity with her and decadence on the road, often accompanied by LuAnne (who he was still sleeping with). "When he was home and supporting a family, he had what he aimed for – respectability. But then it got a bit boring for his adventurous spirit."

His infidelities include the LuAnne affair, and getting model Diana Hansen pregnant when Carolyn was also expecting; he married Hansen in 1950, bigamously. Carolyn also found him and Ginsberg in bed together – twice. To make it worse, some of this was then rehashed in fiction. Big Sur, Kerouac's 1962 novel, concerns the love triangle between Neal, Carolyn and the author, while On the Road is a thinly veiled account of a trip Kerouac took with Neal and LuAnne when Carolyn was pregnant with their first child. She didn't read the book until long after its publication. "It was too traumatic," she says. "I don't want to read about all the fun they had. I was still so conventional, and this was like desertion."""
Cassady--all-American angel-headed hipster--A-men.

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