Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir

Paperback | July 15, 1999

byJoyce JohnsonIntroduction byAnn Douglas

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
 
“Among the great American literary memoirs of the past century. . .a riveting portrait of an era. . .Johnson captures this period with deep clarity and moving insight.” – Dwight Garner, The New York Times


During the charmed years of the late Fifties, as a cultural revolution blossomed in downtown New York, Joyce Johnson was part of an extraordinary circle that included Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi and Hettie Jones, Gregory Corso, Robert Frank, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. Twenty-one-year-old Johnson was living with Kerouac when he became famous overnight in September 1957 with the publication of On the Road. Minor Characters starts as a moving story of adolescent rebellion, and then becomes a fascinating meditation on the relations between the sexes.

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From Our Editors

When you think of the beat generation, you probably think of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. But what about the women who helped shape the beat movement? Minor Characters looks at the female friends and lovers of the men who made beat a buzzword. We learn about their contributions in shaping the movement and how ...

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award  “Among the great American literary memoirs of the past century. . .a riveting portrait of an era. . .Johnson captures this period with deep clarity and moving insight.” – Dwight Garner, The New York Times During the charmed years of the late Fifties, as a cultural revolution blossomed i...

Joyce Johnson's eight books include the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Minor Characters, the recent memoir Missing Men, the novel In the Night Cafe, and Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters 1957-1958 (with Jack Kerouac). She has written for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and lives in New York City.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.77 × 5.08 × 0.62 inPublished:July 15, 1999Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140283579

ISBN - 13:9780140283570

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From Our Editors

When you think of the beat generation, you probably think of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. But what about the women who helped shape the beat movement? Minor Characters looks at the female friends and lovers of the men who made beat a buzzword. We learn about their contributions in shaping the movement and how they chose to live more freely a decade before the 1960s Women's Liberation Movement.

Editorial Reviews

“Rich and beautifully written, full of vivid portraits and evocations of the major Beat voices and the minor characters, their women.”--Anne Lamott, The San Francisco Chronicle"[Johnson] has brought to life what history may ultimately judge to have been minor characters, but who were to her own generation major enough to shape its consciousness." --The New York Times"A first-rate memoir, very beautiful, very sad." --E.L. Doctorow"Joyce Johnson hands over to us the safe-deposit box that contains lost, precious scrolls of the New York '50s." --The Washington Post"Minor Characters is an avowedly nostalgic portrait that captures the excitement, the strangeness and the often misdirected and destructive energy of those lost days." --The Philadelphia Inquirer