Academic journal article Journal of Beat Studies

Ann Charters Testimonial

Academic journal article Journal of Beat Studies

Ann Charters Testimonial

Article excerpt

Ann Charters was the sole scholar I wanted to work with, so the only graduate program I applied to during 1993 was the master's of arts in English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. It was the first of a series of reckless moves that have characterized my academic career, but I had a good reason-I had read The Portable Beat Reader in 1992, an experience that convinced me to commit at least six years, and maybe more, to studying the Beat writers. As the leading Kerouac scholar in the country, Charters was the person I most wanted to be like. I told her so when we first met after I hornswoggled UConn into letting me on campus. Ann was my advisor and mentor, and I would be taking her graduate course on the Beat generation. Like a noticeable but undefinable botheration, I hung around her office whenever I could, eavesdropping on her projects. I coaxed her into telling me about her adventures with the Beats and her husband, Sam.

Ann helped me make contact with Lucien Carr, and when I brought Herbert Huncke to campus, Ann took an active role in hosting him. Huncke would tell me that, along with Joan Burroughs and Janine Pommy Vega, Ann was one of the women he most admired. He presented her with a signed copy of The Evening Sun Turned Crimson. I would be one of the few graduate students, because of Ann, who was able to give a paper at New York University's "The Writings of Jack Kerouac" conference in June 1995, where I presented "Fear of a Wolf: The Critical Reception of On the Road"-I still have my name badge. …

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