Memory Babe

Not Coolgrove Press but highly recommended…
MEMORY BABE, by Gerald Nicosia is considered by those in the know, to be the most comprehensive biography of Jack Kerouac, now out of print for decades, will be back in circulation with Station Hill Press in Tarrytown, NY.
Pub Date: March 12, 2021


Praise for MEMORY BABE, author of BEAT Scrapebook

Memory Babe . . . is a monument of Kerouac, smells and tastes like Kerouac, has a powerful impact and a mountain of life detail I’d forgotten, great book.”

                                    –Allen Ginsberg, in his journal, June 1983

Memory Babe is an enormous labor of love that stands like a monument to its martyred subject . . . it is finally a model of what a relentlessly engaged biography should be.”

                                    –Seymour Krim

Memory Babe is by far the best of the many books published about Jack Kerouac’s life and work, accurately and clearly written, with a sure feeling for Jack’s own prose.”

                                     — William S. Burroughs

Memory Babe is beautiful, deep, seeing.”

                                    –Michael McClure

“Gerald Nicosia is the author of the greatest work of Kerouac scholarship there is.”

                                    –Barry Miles

“This is the Kerouac I knew, his sufferings and his exultations, his elusive charisma and his maddening moods.  At last he has been treated as the serious, searching soul he was.  A great writer and a great biographer have come together, and the result is a book that is essential for anyone interested in the development of postwar American literature.”

                                    — John Clellon Holmes

“Everything is included here, in the way of Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce and Mark Schorer’s Sinclair Lewis . . .  If a man’s life is nothing more than the sum total of its moments, then this is as close to an exact re-creation of the life of Jack Kerouac as we are ever likely to get.”

                                    –Bruce Cook, Washington Post

Memory Babe blurbs, page 2

“When I read Memory Babe, it clearly seemed to be the definitive biography of Jack Kerouac, because of the extraordinary amount of research and facts that Gerald Nicosia presented for anyone interested in Kerouac and his work.  His book is an invaluable contribution to the history of the Beat Generation,  and no one can seriously claim to study or obtain a true knowledge of Kerouac without reading this masterful book.  We in France are greatly looking forward to a translation of this revised and augmented edition.”

                                    — Jean-François Duval, author of Kerouac et La Beat Generation: Une                                      Enquête, and leading French authority on Kerouac

“My brother Adrian read American Studies at the University of Essex, and had a year at the University of Minnesota as part of the course. He got me into Kerouac when I was about 16.  We both loved Memory Babe, and I still have my Penguin copy from 1986.  We read other Kerouac biographies, but Nicosia’s was by far the best to our minds.  Among other things, it opened up our eyes about Visions of Cody.  I remember Nicosia talking beautifully about Kerouac on BBC radio in the mid-80s, when the British edition came out.  Before Memory Babe, Kerouac was still pretty much regarded as a minor novelist by academic circles here.  I’m absolutely convinced that it was the excellence of MEMORY BABE which started to get Kerouac accepted in academic circles as a major writer.”

                                    –Matthew Paul, British poet and editor of Presence

“Gerald Nicosia [is] author of the best biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe.”

                                    —London Times Literary Supplement, September 5, 2003

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe admirably fulfills the function of literary biography [of Kerouac].”

                                    –Mick Brown, London Telegraph, February 23, 2004

“What Gerald Nicosia has written on Kerouac and others is already universal literary heritage.”

                                    –Ferrucio Brugnaro, Italy’s best-known proletarian poet

Memory Babe blurbs, page 3

“All the important Beat writers recommended to me that I translate Memory Babe.  Ginsberg, Burroughs, McClure–they all wrote me that Nicosia’s book is the best among other Kerouac biographies.”

                                                –Vojo Sindolic, Yugoslavian translator of the Beats

“There’s no question amongst my peers who consider Kerouac to be a major innovator & creator, whose work challenged acceptable ‘norms’–Memory Babe remains the core source of Kerouac scholarship.  Even though I admire Ann Charters’ pioneering work & Dennis McNally’s biography, they were partial & incomplete until Memory Babe was published.  Memory Babe is, in my sight, the defining work.”

                                                –David Meltzer

“Through years of research and careful scholarship, Gerald Nicosia has done a great service for literature and for those of us who believed in Jack’s genius.”

                                                –Carolyn Cassady

Memory Babe is not just the best biography on Kerouac, it’s as good as any biography I’ve ever read regarding scholarship and honesty and vision.”

                                                –Sharon Doubiago, author of Hard Country, called the “female

                                                   Kerouac”

Memory Babe is the most complete by far of the Kerouac biographies.”

                                                –John Montgomery

“To my mind, Memory Babe is the most comprehensive Kerouac biography to date.”

                                                –Neeli Cherkovksi, post-Beat poet and author of Whitman’s Wild

                                                   Children

“Nicosia tells Kerouac’s life story with unflinching honesty and utmost respect.  Packed with fascinating details and exquisitely written, this book needs to be discovered by a younger generation of readers.”

                                                —Midwest Book Review

Memory Babe blurbs, page 4

“I’ve read my copy of Memory Babe so many times it’s falling apart.”

                                                –Victor Bockris, British biographer, author of With William                                                                   Burroughs

Memory Babe was a model for me of how to write a certain kind of literary history.”

                                                –Michael Davidson, professor of American Literature, University                                                       of California, San Diego, and author of The San Francisco                                                                        Renaissance

Memory Babe had me alternately pounding my knees and staring in wide-eyed disbelief and wonder.  This biography of Kerouac is clearly in a class by itself.  An incredible job.”

                                    –Carl Weissner, German translator of the Beats

“My admiration for you [Gerald Nicosia] as a biographer has grown . . .  You have taught me a great deal about the responsibility a biographer takes on toward his subject.”

                                    –Douglas Brinkley

“Comparing Kerouac biographies, I quickly discovered that Memory Babe had far more authority than any other.  I consider Gerald Nicosia to be the world’s foremost authority on Jack Kerouac.”

                                    –Ken McGoogan, literary editor of the Calgary Herald, author of   

                                                   Visions of Kerouac

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe is the outstanding study of Kerouac to date.”

                                    –Paul Carroll, founder of Big Table magazine and press, as well as                                                                of the Chicago Poetry Center, written shortly before his death in 1996

Memory Babe blurbs, page 5 

Memory Babe [is] the most relentlessly and thoroughly researched of the Kerouac biographies . . .  There is a day-by-day tracing of Kerouac’s thoughts and movements astonishing in its exactitude . . .  For those who believe Kerouac was a great writer, there is no more useful guide to the Duluoz Legend, as Kerouac called his pantheon of novels.”

                                    –Barry Gifford, USA Today

Memory Babe is a splendid work, illuminating the pathos of a beautiful young novelist.”

                                    –John Rechy

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe [is] widely considered to be the definitive Kerouac biography.”

                                    –Dave Hoekstra, Chicago Sun-Times, September 2, 2007

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe is the most detailed and best-documented [Kerouac biography].”

                                    –John Leland, author of Why Kerouac Matters

“As in the best biographies the approach to the life is interwoven with an appreciation of the art, and Nicosia provides excellent analyses of Kerouac’s books.  It is a fine performance, a major biography of a man the biographer believes to be a major novelist.”

                                    —The Scotsman, Edinburgh

“Gerald Nicosia is Jack Kerouac’s best biographer.  Thanks to Memory Babe, readers have a true, detailed, well-documented story of Kerouac’s life and milieu, the Beat Generation.  Critics unanimously praise Memory Babe for its honesty, its broad, deep research, its narrative style, and its respect for and understanding of Jack Kerouac.  Memory Babe contains a treasure trove of interviews and correspondence which Nicosia conducted with Beat Generation figures.  His work has been a useful resource to almost everyone working in this field.”

                                    –Maxine Hong Kingston

Memory Babe blurbs, page 6

Memory Babe is the only biography of Kerouac that gives a complete literary analysis of all Kerouac’s works.  Nicosia’s biography is an essential book for understanding the origins and theory of Beat writing, Kerouac in particular.”

                                    –Floyd Salas, novelist, President of PEN Oakland

Memory Babe is a large-scale but superbly focused biography.  There’s simply no other book on the subject that touches it.  Speaking as a teacher, I often encounter students who read the biography as a valuable and enlightening corollary to their reading of Kerouac’s books.  With the recognition of Kerouac as a classic American writer, Memory Babe will be regarded as an irreplaceable resource in the years to come.”

                                    –Aram Saroyan

“To call this book the definitive Kerouac biography is an understatement.  Memory Babe is a  high, broad, realistic canvas, all-inclusive and richly detailed.  The reader’s immersion in Kerouac’s thoughts, moves, and mess-ups is so total that one cannot but feel a great empathy for him.”

                                    —Library Journal

“Gerald Nicosia’s critical biography is a clear-headed, honest documentary of a broken-hearted tragedy.  It is compassionate and, in a word, definitive.”

                                    –Oliver Harris, New Statesman (London)

“Gerald Nicosia, author of the memorable Memory Babe, was the first Anglo-American biographer to recognize and appreciate the importance of Kerouac’s French-Canadian past on his adult life.”

                                    –Eric Waddell, professor at Laval University, author of many works on

                                       the French experience in America, and organizer of the first French-

                                       language conference on Kerouac, Le Rencontre Internationale Jack

                                       Kerouac, in Quebec City in 1987.

Memory Babe blurbs, page 7

“I made good use of Memory Babe in a graduate course I taught in Post World War II American Literature.  It is one of the best books on the Beats and their cultural movement.”          

                        –Ronald Gottesman, Professor of English, University of Southern California

Memory Babe, in my opinion, is the best biography of Jack Kerouac.  Time and time again, as editor of The Kerouac Connection, I encounter the testimony of readers who have found Memory Babe to be of the most vital importance in their understanding of Jack Kerouac and his work.  Memory Babe is quoted from, alluded to and celebrated in the pages of The Kerouac Connection and in the many personal letters I receive.  I can honestly say that it is regarded as a standard work.”

                        –James Morton, Editor of The Kerouac Connection

“This outstanding biography [Memory Babe] offers an unprejudiced and compassionate insight into a man who, whatever his critics may say, could still capture the state of mind that derived directly from the frenetic pace of the American life of his time.”

                                    —Cork Examiner (Ireland)

Memory Babe is the most comprehensive and articulate account of the Beat Generation’s Boswell that I have seen.”

                                    –Paul Krassner

Memory Babe is an invaluable work of scholarship, influential in terms of the way we understand the works of one of America’s greatest post-war writers, and in the way we write about those figures.  I used the book as an important source for Dharma Lion, my biography of Allen Ginsberg.  Since its publication in 1983, Memory Babe has remained, without dispute, the most detailed and in-depth Kerouac biography, and any future Kerouac/Beat Generation students would be well-advised to consult this book before beginning their own work.  Memory Babe is at the pinnacle of Kerouac and Beat Generation studies.”

                                    –Michael Schumacher

Memory Babe blurbs, page 8

“For the five years I taught a first-year seminar focused on Jack Kerouac at the University of Maine at Farmington, I found Memory Babe to be an invaluable source for biographical details as well as for critical insights into Kerouac’s writing.  As such, I used it frequently and highly recommended it to my students as a resource for their research papers. Now retired, I often use Memory Babe as a source when writing posts for my blog, The Daily Beat, which I’ve authored continuously since my book on Kerouac was published in 2008.”

                                    –Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe [is] the widely recognized definitive biography of Jack Kerouac.”

                                    –Chris Hastings, London Telegraph, March 2, 2008

“Gerald Nicosia’s Memory Babe is simply the best and last word on Jack Kerouac–the most thorough and exhaustive book on the subject.  The quality of the writing speaks for itself.  To fully understand the explosion of literature and music–the whole phenomenon of the Beats in  the 1950’s and 1960’s–one must read Memory Babe.”

                                    –Larry Heinemann, winner of the National Book Award for

                                       Paco’s Story

Bullet Points about European connections of MEMORY BABE

  • MEMORY BABE was issued in England by Penguin in 1985, and sold steadily until it was put out of print there.  MEMORY BABE was selling 2000 copies a year in England from Penguin Books when it was put out of print in 1993 (which was done for political reasons, when Penguin made its six-book deal with John Sampas for books from the Kerouac estate).
  • MEMORY BABE received glowing reviews in most major U.K. papers, including the London Telegraph, The Scotsman, the New Statesman, and the Cork Examiner.  The London Times Literary Supplement wrote on September 5, 2003, that “Gerald Nicosia [is] author of the best biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe.”
  • Nicosia lectured on Kerouac and the Beats extensively in England, at such venues as the University of Exeter, the Plymouth Arts Centre, the Dylan Thomas Centre (Swansea), Wales Polytechnic, Chichester University, and Cambridge University twice.  The last time Nicosia spoke at Cambridge was in 2017, and that visit is described on this Cambridge University website: https://www.english.cam.ac.uk/news/archives/3248
  • In The Cambridge Companion to the Beats (Cambridge University Press, 2017) Memory Babe is mentioned twice (p. 14 and p. 149) as an important source on Jack Kerouac.
  • In September 2003, Nicosia was a featured speaker at a major Beat conference that was put on by the Commune in Livorno, Italy, and which featured Italy’s leading Beat authority and translator Fernanda Pivano.
  • Fernanda Pivano wrote high praise of Gerald Nicosia’s work, especially Memory Babe, in the Corriere della Serra several times.  She first wrote of him and the book in her column in the Corriere della Serra November 18, 1980, even before the book was published.
  • The French translator of On the Road Jacques Houbard frequently wrote in praise of Memory Babe and urged French publishers to translate it.
  • Nicosia gave the keynote address at the first annual convention of the European Beat Studies Network, which was held at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg, Netherlands in 2012.  Nicosia spoke again to the European Beat Studies Network at their sixth annual convention in Paris in 2017.
  • Memory Babe was published in a French translation by Editions Verticales in France, starting in 2003.  The book was then taken over by Gallimard, which published it until 2018.  It was put out of print only because of a copyright dispute, with the Montreal company Quebec-Amerique making a false claim of ownership.
  • Memory Babe was translated into Spanish and published successfully in Spain for 25 years by Circe Ediciones in Barcelona, from 1990 to 2015.
  • Nicosia spoke to standing-room-only crowds at the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris twice; in 2012, he spoke specifically about Jack Kerouac and his new book (at that time) One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road.
  • In June 2014 Nicosia spoke about Kerouac at the Fiery Tongues Festival in Amsterdam, invited by the respected Dutch poet Hans Plomp.
  • The noted Yugoslavian translator of the Beats, Vojo SIndolic, has translated portions of Nicosia’s writings about the Beats into Croatian.  Sindolic wrote: “All the important Beat writers recommended to me that I translate Memory Babe.  Ginsberg, Burroughs, McClure–they all wrote me that Nicosia’s book is the best among other Kerouac biographies.”
  • Nicosia was featured on the Italian television documentary series on the Beats called Hit the Road, Jack! In 2003.
  • Gerald Nicosia was featured as an authority on the Beats on French national television and in a full-length French documentary film on the Beats called La Retour de la Beat Generation made by director Robert Kuperberg for France 5 (spring 2012)
  • The noted French critic and exponent of the Beats Jean-François Duval has cited Memory Babe as an important source on Kerouac, and he wrote that it seemed to him “the definitive biography of Jack Kerouac because of the extraordinary amount of research and facts that Gerald Nicosia presented.”
  • The preeminent German translator of the Beats, Carl Weissner, wrote that “Memory Babe is clearly in a class by itself.  An incredible job.”
  • Nicosia was interviewed on BBC radio several times.  The distinguished British poet and editor of Presence magazine Matthew Paul wrote, “I remember Nicosia talking beautifully about Kerouac on BBC radio in the mid-80’s, when the British edition came out.  Before Memory Babe, Kerouac was still pretty much regarded as a minor novelist by academic circles here [in England].  I’m absolutely convinced that it was the excellence of Memory Babe which started to get Kerouac accepted in academic circles as a major writer.”
  • British biographer of William Burroughs and well-known British authority on the Beats Victor Bockris wrote, “I’ve read my copy of Memory Babe so many times it’s falling apart.”

Bullet Points about European connections of MEMORY BABE

  • MEMORY BABE was issued in England by Penguin in 1985, and sold steadily until it was put out of print there.  MEMORY BABE was selling 2000 copies a year in England from Penguin Books when it was put out of print in 1993 (which was done for political reasons, when Penguin made its six-book deal with John Sampas for books from the Kerouac estate).
  • MEMORY BABE received glowing reviews in most major U.K. papers, including the London Telegraph, The Scotsman, the New Statesman, and the Cork Examiner.  The London Times Literary Supplement wrote on September 5, 2003, that “Gerald Nicosia [is] author of the best biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe.”
  • Nicosia lectured on Kerouac and the Beats extensively in England, at such venues as the University of Exeter, the Plymouth Arts Centre, the Dylan Thomas Centre (Swansea), Wales Polytechnic, Chichester University, and Cambridge University twice.  The last time Nicosia spoke at Cambridge was in 2017, and that visit is described on this Cambridge University website: https://www.english.cam.ac.uk/news/archives/3248
  • In The Cambridge Companion to the Beats (Cambridge University Press, 2017) Memory Babe is mentioned twice (p. 14 and p. 149) as an important source on Jack Kerouac.
  • In September 2003, Nicosia was a featured speaker at a major Beat conference that was put on by the Commune in Livorno, Italy, and which featured Italy’s leading Beat authority and translator Fernanda Pivano.
  • Fernanda Pivano wrote high praise of Gerald Nicosia’s work, especially Memory Babe, in the Corriere della Serra several times.  She first wrote of him and the book in her column in the Corriere della Serra November 18, 1980, even before the book was published.
  • The French translator of On the Road Jacques Houbard frequently wrote in praise of Memory Babe and urged French publishers to translate it.
  • Nicosia gave the keynote address at the first annual convention of the European Beat Studies Network, which was held at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middleburg, Netherlands in 2012.  Nicosia spoke again to the European Beat Studies Network at their sixth annual convention in Paris in 2017.
  • Memory Babe was published in a French translation by Editions Verticales in France, starting in 2003.  The book was then taken over by Gallimard, which published it until 2018.  It was put out of print only because of a copyright dispute, with the Montreal company Quebec-Amerique making a false claim of ownership.
  • Memory Babe was translated into Spanish and published successfully in Spain for 25 years by Circe Ediciones in Barcelona, from 1990 to 2015.
  • Nicosia spoke to standing-room-only crowds at the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris twice; in 2012, he spoke specifically about Jack Kerouac and his new book (at that time) One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road.
  • In June 2014 Nicosia spoke about Kerouac at the Fiery Tongues Festival in Amsterdam, invited by the respected Dutch poet Hans Plomp.
  • The noted Yugoslavian translator of the Beats, Vojo SIndolic, has translated portions of Nicosia’s writings about the Beats into Croatian.  Sindolic wrote: “All the important Beat writers recommended to me that I translate Memory Babe.  Ginsberg, Burroughs, McClure–they all wrote me that Nicosia’s book is the best among other Kerouac biographies.”
  • Nicosia was featured on the Italian television documentary series on the Beats called Hit the Road, Jack! In 2003.
  • Gerald Nicosia was featured as an authority on the Beats on French national television and in a full-length French documentary film on the Beats called La Retour de la Beat Generation made by director Robert Kuperberg for France 5 (spring 2012)
  • The noted French critic and exponent of the Beats Jean-François Duval has cited Memory Babe as an important source on Kerouac, and he wrote that it seemed to him “the definitive biography of Jack Kerouac because of the extraordinary amount of research and facts that Gerald Nicosia presented.”
  • The preeminent German translator of the Beats, Carl Weissner, wrote that “Memory Babe is clearly in a class by itself.  An incredible job.”
  • Nicosia was interviewed on BBC radio several times.  The distinguished British poet and editor of Presence magazine Matthew Paul wrote, “I remember Nicosia talking beautifully about Kerouac on BBC radio in the mid-80’s, when the British edition came out.  Before Memory Babe, Kerouac was still pretty much regarded as a minor novelist by academic circles here [in England].  I’m absolutely convinced that it was the excellence of Memory Babe which started to get Kerouac accepted in academic circles as a major writer.”
  • British biographer of William Burroughs and well-known British authority on the Beats Victor Bockris wrote, “I’ve read my copy of Memory Babe so many times it’s falling apart.”