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Susan's Blog

Pilgrimage with Geoffrey Chaucer and Jack Kerouac: Ecocriticism, "The Canterbury Tales", and "On the Road"

Here I am in Cyprus. I originally presented a conference version of this article while in Nicosia at the European Beat Studies Network Conference in 2019.

With Geoffrey Chaucer and Jack Kerouac, we see how a contemporary American icon functions as a text parallel to something generally seen as discrete and past, an instance of the modern embracing, interpreting, and appropriating the medieval. I argue that The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer influenced Kerouac's shaping of On the Road. In the unpublished autograph manuscript travel diary dating from 1948–1949 (On the Road notebook), Kerouac imagines the novel as a quest tale, thinking of pilgrimage during its gestation. Further, Kerouac explicitly cites Chaucer. Read more of it here.

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