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Visions of Gerard


Visions of Gerard

Visions of Gerard
First edition
Author Jack Kerouac
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Company
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 144 pp
OCLC 22710206
813/.54 20
LC Class PS3521.E735 V47 1991
Preceded by Big Sur
Followed by Desolation Angels

Visions of Gerard is a 1963 novel by American Beat writer Jack Kerouac. It is the first volume in Kerouac's "Duluoz Legend". Unique among Kerouac's novels, Visions of Gerard focuses on the scenes and sensations of childhood as evidenced in the tragically short yet happy life of his older brother, Gerard. Kerouac paints a picture of the boy as a saint, who loves all creatures and teaches this doctrine to four-year-old Jack. Set in Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, it is a beautiful but unsettling exploration of the meaning and precariousness of existence.[1]

Explanation of the novel's title

Throughout the novel, Jack explores perspective and interpretations of the world—existence, reality, illusion—and through the death of his older brother Gerard Jack realizes the Truth that has been passed on throughout history. The title is consistent with that of one of Kerouac's other character-studies, Visions of Cody, which centers on his experiences with Neal Cassady. The novel inspired the title of Bob Dylan's song "Visions of Johanna" from his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.

Character list

Kerouac often based his fictional characters on friends and family.[2]

"Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work." [3]
Real-life person Character name
Jack Kerouac Jack Duluoz
Leo Kerouac Emil "Pop" Duluoz
Gerard Kerouac Gerard Duluoz
Gabrielle Kerouac Ange Duluoz


  1. ^ McLaughlin, K., 'Jack Kerouac's Visions of Gerard', in Wills, D. (ed.) Beatdom Vol. 4 (Mauling Press: Dundee, 2009)
  2. ^ Who’s Who: A Guide to Kerouac’s Characters
  3. ^ Kerouac, Jack. Visions of Cody. London and New York: Penguin Books Ltd. 1993.

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