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Kerouc exhibit enthralls

Whatever you think of Kerouac’s writing or his exploits later in life, he was of Lowell, steeped in the city and its rhythms.  Lowell was his muse, and the current exhibit at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum never loses sight of the importance to the author of his hometown.  The centerpiece of the exhibit, entitled “Lowell: Where the Road Begins,” is of course the famous Scroll (the original 120 foot long manuscript of On the Road), which dominates the room in a long, diagonal, glass-topped case.  It is something to see (even the ragged end which was literally ‘eaten by the dog’) but it doesn’t stand alone.  There are fascinating photos of Kerouac, his family and friends, and of Lowell, along with excerpts from his books and letters, articles about him and reviews of his books.  All this provides a rich context for contemplating this young man from Lowell, who at one time took the literary world by storm, who was compared to Whitman and Wolfe, who suffered a long decline but whose reputation has risen again.  One of the most intriguing displays is an old Royal typewriter on which visitors can type a message and pin it to a bulletin board (I liked the one that said:  Jack, you were the first rapper).  NPS Interpreter, Jeff Wyman, pointed out that the typewriter is a favorite with the student groups who visit (one wrote, I’m glad we now have computers.)  Jeff also said that in this last week they have had a surge of visitors from Lowell High and that the students are very engaged with the exhibit, particularly the scenes of Lowell from Jack’s day.  It’s great that the high school and the colleges are getting their students over there; it’s truly an exceptionally well put together exhibit and well worth a visit.  BUT, the exhibit ends SUNDAY, so get down there if you can (the Museum is open daily, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm).  

posted in Books, City Life | 1 Comment

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