speaking at Nottingham Trent University.
Cassady spoke at Nottingham Trent University, she wanted to dispel
many of the myths surrounding the Beat Generation.
of no such movement or generation until after On the Road
prefers to talk about a closely-knit group of friends.
She would be
the first to admit, though, that both Kerouac and her husband were
"bad role models".
the figure of James Dean, the Beats have become legendary
in the public eye as charismatic underdogs. They were daring and
destructive, often resorting to petty crime, drink and drugs.
age of Hollywood?
Cassady argues that "Hollyweird" and the media have constantly
misrepresented her husband.
Is this simply
naïve nostalgia on her part? Neal Cassady died in 1968 when
he fell asleep in the rain after a drinking binge yet his
ex-wife says he couldnt stomach vast quantities of alcohol.
Perhaps her perspective sheds new light on his death?
objection is against the "proposed [Francis Ford Copolla] film
of On the Road".
the film rights to Kerouacs novel. Cassady understands that
he has now chosen novelist Russell Banks as the definitive scriptwriter.
stumbled upon the second draft of the script when she visited the
internet auction site, E-Bay. Carolyn says she has written "an
angry letter" to Copolla about the "defamation of Neals
She has not
yet received a reply.
family think the script portrays Neal as a "flashy" narrator.
They were horrified to see him "eyeing up an eight year old
girl" in one scene:
abuse was something Neal thought was the evil of all time".
a divorce from her husband in the mid sixties, she speaks fondly
of both Neal and his good friend, Jack [Kerouac]. She sums them
up as "macho men with soft centres".
On the other
hand she understands how On the Road itself has contributed
to the beat mythology.
writing is renowned for its contradictions, and Carolyn believes
it exaggerates Neals biography unfairly.
Cassadys lecture revealed another reason why beat
legends have attracted enduring fascination.
In life as in
fiction, the core individuals associated with it are notoriously
difficult to pin down.
Cassady's lecture took place on Tuesday 12th February 2002 in the
New Lecture Theatre at the Nottingham Trents Clifton site.
the Road" was published in 1990 by Penguin Viking Press
(and the same book was also published in 1996 by Penguin Books).
It is Carolyn Cassadys memoir of marriage to Neal Cassady
and life alongside Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
term beatnik was first recorded in the San Francisco
Chronicle as a pejorative. The journalist evoked the Soviet satellite
with the same ending, Sputnik.
did not actually publish any fiction himself, but became famous
for starring in other beat writers fiction.
Ginsberg, is well known for the beat poem, Howl.
Inspired by bebop jazz, Ginsberg wanted to introduce the musical
tempo into his writing. The poem develops improvisational pieces
around a common theme in a manner reminiscent of Charlie Parker.