Old Angel Midnight

KEROUAC, Jack. Old Angel Midnight.

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KEROUAC, Jack Old Angel Midnight. Wales, Unicorn Bookshop 1976

8vo. Blue and green card boards, original unicorn price sticker to the rear wrapper, pp [ii] 52; near fine.
The long narrative poem Old Angel Midnight is the product of a period of three years of intense journalling; a period during which Kerouac wrote religiously by candlelight in pencil whilst he shared a cabin with the poet Gary Snyder. He would later state of this challenging experiment in automatic writing, "It is the only book I've ever written in which I allow myself the right to say anything I want". The publisher of Unicorn Books, Bill Butler, was charged with obscenity following his decision to publish J.G Ballard's Why I want to Fuck Ronald Reagan, 1968 . This particular copy was salavaged from the estate of Richard Swan, Butler's defence lawyer during his trial, and is in this way a symbol of the defiance of the writing promoted by the press. In Bill Butler's suicide note, he would write to his lover, "Dick Swan may be interested in the manuscripts". Old Angel Midnight is heavily influenced by Budhist philosophy, in which Kerouac was at the time enraptured by. Kerouac wrote of this piece, "Old Angel Midnight is only the beginning of a lifelong work in multilingual sound, representing the haddalada-babra of babbling world tongues coming in thru my window at midnight no matter where I live or what I'm doing".