Login Register

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 19 posts ]   
Author Message
 Post subject: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:02 pm 
Offline
Journeyman
Journeyman

Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:13 am
Posts: 1369
Location: Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
I read on the road shortly after I first started becoming interested in Catholicism . At the time I really didn't like the book. It seemed to fit the stereotype I had heard of Kerouac.
Some countercultural non-religious guy.

Then a few years later I learned that he's devout with his faith. And that he wasn't afraid to regularly mention his faith and defend it.

So my question is, did I just misunderstand the book? Was he is involved with his Catholicism when he wrote that book? Or did I read the book correctly and his faith developed after the book was published.

_________________
For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:26 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
The point of the book is that the lifestyle he describes made him completely miserable, it's supposed to be a cautionary tale 'don't do this folks, it's a horrible life.' Instead, an entire generation read it and said to themselves 'that sounds awesome, I think I'll do exactly that', which is pretty much the opposite of the message he wanted to send.



It's way up there with Machiavelli's 'The Prince' as one of the most profoundly misunderstood books ever written. You know that book, the one where Machiavelli advocated that rulers cut ethical corners, be consumed with nothing but the pursuit of power for its own sake, and practice tyranny and abuse of power? Except that...he didn't. The book is supposed to be a satire. It was dedicated to Caesar Borgia, which really should make Machiavelli's sarcasm apparent. He was literally trying to describe what rulers should NOT do. And many people didn't get the joke and thought he was being serious. Not even looking at Machiavelli's other writings, all of which advocate republicanism, high moral standards for rulers, limited government, and honestly and integrity in government. Some people just don't 'get' irony.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:51 pm 
Offline
Citizen
Citizen

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:11 pm
Posts: 147
Religion: Catholic
I think the misinterpretation is mostly deliberate, especially by atheists and other religion-haters. I think they similarly twisted interpretation of the writings of Rene Descartes toward his irony in teaching that almost nothing could be known with confidence (aka nihilism, which he most certainly did not espouse). Would you agree? And would you agree it is because most educators are public employees, and/or funded primarily with public dollars, they generally seek to diminish religious authority and influence in favor of socialism, and thus ignore and sometimes condone this kind of deceit?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:46 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 76847
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
Descartes staved off the undesired consequences of his approach by pretending they weren't a problem. He is one of the key figures in the destruction of Western thought.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:24 pm 
Offline
Citizen
Citizen
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:13 am
Posts: 160
Location: Houston TX
Religion: Catholic
Is it fair to say "Lolita" also got a bum rap?

_________________
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. - George Washington


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:48 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
Riverboat wrote:
Is it fair to say "Lolita" also got a bum rap?


In what sense?


Last edited by Doom on Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:28 pm 
Offline
Citizen
Citizen
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:13 am
Posts: 160
Location: Houston TX
Religion: Catholic
I keep hearing that Lolita approved of pedophilia. An article in National Review put that notion to rest. It was years ago, and I've never read the book anyway. Truth be told, I picked up a copy at a book sale, but it's on the bottom of the pile of books I'll get around to some day. Should I bother?

_________________
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. - George Washington


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:02 am 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
The word 'pedophilia' is overused. What it actually means is 'sexual interest in children who have not yet experienced puberty'

Lolita is 16 years old, and is, um, rather well developed. Humbert Humbert's sexual interest in her is inappropriate, definitely, but it isn't pedophilia. The story is about a loss of innocence, with Humbert Humbert taking sexual taking sexual advantage of an underage girl and then regretting it. It probably isn't worth your time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:24 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18174
Doom wrote:
The word 'pedophilia' is overused. What it actually means is 'sexual interest in children who have not yet experienced puberty'

Lolita is 16 years old, and is, um, rather well developed. Humbert Humbert's sexual interest in her is inappropriate, definitely, but it isn't pedophilia. The story is about a loss of innocence, with Humbert Humbert taking sexual taking sexual advantage of an underage girl and then regretting it. It probably isn't worth your time.



I think she was rather younger than that. But Nabokov's characters are often untrustworthy, so who knows.

OTOH, Nabokov was friends with Bill Buckley.

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:12 pm 
Offline
Citizen
Citizen

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:11 pm
Posts: 147
Religion: Catholic
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Descartes staved off the undesired consequences of his approach by pretending they weren't a problem. He is one of the key figures in the destruction of Western thought.

The "destruction of Western thought" is a rather extreme expression of pessimism which I encourage you to rethink. Calling Rene Descartes a key figure in it is even more so.
I'll grant the paradox that unrepented corruption among Christians, and the absence of appropriate and effective condemnation, are the cornerstone of Western immorality and cultural deterioration, yet Christianity is also our best hope of improvement.
Atheists are the key figures you refer to.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:00 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
eschator83 wrote:
The "destruction of Western thought" is a rather extreme expression of pessimism which I encourage you to rethink. Calling Rene Descartes a key figure in it is even more so.
I'll grant the paradox that unrepented corruption among Christians, and the absence of appropriate and effective condemnation, are the cornerstone of Western immorality and cultural deterioration, yet Christianity is also our best hope of improvement.
Atheists are the key figures you refer to.


No rethinking is necessary, he is absolutely, positively 100% correct. If you don't think western thought has been 'destroyed', try picking up a book by Richard Dawkins.

But here's the thing: all of the errors that Dawkins makes, all of them, 100% of them, originated in the works of Christian philosophers such as William of Ockham, Rene Descartes and John Locke. There's a direct line of influence from Descartes to Dawkins.

Here's a couple books that explain this:

This one is extremely technical, it took me months to read it, but it well worth it

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Superstitio ... ward+feser

Here's another one covering some of the same ground, but in a less technical and more accessible way

https://www.amazon.com/Ten-Philosophica ... l+mistakes

Dawkins may be firing the gun, but it is Christian philosophers like Descartes, Locke and Kant who gave him the bullets.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:11 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
I think she was rather younger than that. But Nabokov's characters are often untrustworthy, so who knows.

OTOH, Nabokov was friends with Bill Buckley.


She might be younger, but she is definitely post pubescent, it is not a book about pedophilia.

I actually knew that he was friends with Buckley, and I even know that, from a certain perspective, Lolita can be thought of as a 'conservative' book. I know that to some, that sounds crazy. But the theme of the novel is that everything that Humbert Humbert does is the result of his philosophy, which is nihilistic and completely amoral. Nabakov was trying to make a point about the decline of public morals. Humbert cares only about his own wants and needs and doesn't care about anyone else. Humbert is an example of a certain kind of modern person that Nabakov was trying to criticize.

It is significant that in the novel, we never really get to know anything about Lolita, what she is really like as a person, what is her personality, what are her interests. She is basically a non-character. I'm pretty sure this was intentional, a way of showing that Humbert thinks of her as only an object to satisfy his desires, and not as a person.

Yeah, I'm still not sure that it is a book worth reading, but there it is.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:49 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18174
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
I think she was rather younger than that. But Nabokov's characters are often untrustworthy, so who knows.

OTOH, Nabokov was friends with Bill Buckley.


She might be younger, but she is definitely post pubescent, it is not a book about pedophilia.

I actually knew that he was friends with Buckley, and I even know that, from a certain perspective, Lolita can be thought of as a 'conservative' book. I know that to some, that sounds crazy. But the theme of the novel is that everything that Humbert Humbert does is the result of his philosophy, which is nihilistic and completely amoral. Nabakov was trying to make a point about the decline of public morals. Humbert cares only about his own wants and needs and doesn't care about anyone else. Humbert is an example of a certain kind of modern person that Nabakov was trying to criticize.

It is significant that in the novel, we never really get to know anything about Lolita, what she is really like as a person, what is her personality, what are her interests. She is basically a non-character. I'm pretty sure this was intentional, a way of showing that Humbert thinks of her as only an object to satisfy his desires, and not as a person.

Yeah, I'm still not sure that it is a book worth reading, but there it is.


In the book, she was 12.

Nabokov popularized and generally introduced the term nymphet, in the book. Humbert describes such as between 9 and 12.

Yeah I had to look it up. Haven't read it, or PALE FIRE, since college.

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:09 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
In the book, she was 12.

Nabokov popularized and generally introduced the term nymphet, in the book. Humbert describes such as between 9 and 12.

Yeah I had to look it up. Haven't read it, or PALE FIRE, since college.


12 is definitely post pubescent, or at least, pubescent. Throughout human history, girls have gotten married at that age, often to much older men. I am currently reading the book 'The Wars of the Roses' by Dan Jones, and he describes the birth of Henry Tudor, future Henry VII, father of Henry VIII and grandfather of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, to Margret Beaufort, when she was 13 years old. It was traumatic for her to give birth that young, and she never had any other children, leading some to think that the trauma of giving birth that young may have rendered her sterile. But my point is that if a girl is capable of giving birth at that age, then she definitely isn't pre-pubescent.


Lolita has a reputation for being an 'erotic' novel, which just goes to show that people have never really read it. It's a novel with a lot of dark humor and tragedy, but one thing it is not is erotic.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:25 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18174
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
In the book, she was 12.

Nabokov popularized and generally introduced the term nymphet, in the book. Humbert describes such as between 9 and 12.

Yeah I had to look it up. Haven't read it, or PALE FIRE, since college.


12 is definitely post pubescent, or at least, pubescent. Throughout human history, girls have gotten married at that age, often to much older men. I am currently reading the book 'The Wars of the Roses' by Dan Jones, and he describes the birth of Henry Tudor, future Henry VII, father of Henry VIII and grandfather of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, to Margret Beaufort, when she was 13 years old. It was traumatic for her to give birth that young, and she never had any other children, leading some to think that the trauma of giving birth that young may have rendered her sterile. But my point is that if a girl is capable of giving birth at that age, then she definitely isn't pre-pubescent.


Lolita has a reputation for being an 'erotic' novel, which just goes to show that people have never really read it. It's a novel with a lot of dark humor and tragedy, but one thing it is not is erotic.


Yeah, I know those Tudor people, and their stories.

And there's a typo in my post. it should be between 9-14, in Humbert's mind.

Generally, though, you seem to be describing a book that differs from my memory. Which is over 50 years aged now. I would have to run over it more, to disagree more, and I won't. Though, one thing recalled is that Lolita, at 12, wasn't a virgin when H.H. met her.

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:43 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 74686
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
Generally, though, you seem to be describing a book that differs from my memory. Which is over 50 years aged now. I would have to run over it more, to disagree more, and I won't. Though, one thing recalled is that Lolita, at 12, wasn't a virgin when H.H. met her.


We, it's been about 20 years for me. If it hadn't been assigned reading in college, I probably never would have read. The interpretation I provided, that it was kind of a conservative, moralistic tale about the corruption of modern morals, is what I wrote in my paper on it. The professor liked my interpretation anyway.

Well, as you note, Humbert is not a very reliable narrator. His version of events is very self serving. I seem to remember that there was a degree of ambiguity both about 'Lolita's (not her real name as I'm sure you remember, that is just what Humbert called her) real age and her level of sexual experience prior to meeting Humbert. It may be that he told himself that she must have already been experienced as a way to alleviating some of his guilt for taking her innocence and robbing her of a normal childhood.

One thing I do remember vividly is the ending, where Humbert murders Quilty, who had abducted Lolita from the hospital and tried to force her to appear in a pornographic film, and he then he allows himself to be arrested for the crime because he has come to regret his actions, believing that he had deprived Delores (her real name) of a normal life and had essentially ruined her.

It's definitely a cautionary tale, the reader isn't expected to find Humbert sympathetic or think that there was nothing wrong with what he did. I've even heard some people say that they found it 'preachy' because the way everything goes wrong for both characters it was like Nabakov was trying to beat the reader over the head with his message 'what Humbert did is bad, he's a bad, bad man.'


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:27 pm 
Offline
Citizen
Citizen
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:13 am
Posts: 160
Location: Houston TX
Religion: Catholic
Doom wrote:

I actually knew that he was friends with Buckley, and I even know that, from a certain perspective, Lolita can be thought of as a 'conservative' book. I know that to some, that sounds crazy. But the theme of the novel is that everything that Humbert Humbert does is the result of his philosophy, which is nihilistic and completely amoral. Nabakov was trying to make a point about the decline of public morals.

That's what I remember picking up in NR. Still, if I have to cover a book in brown paper if I leave the house with it, maybe it's best I read something else.

_________________
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. - George Washington


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:54 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18174
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Generally, though, you seem to be describing a book that differs from my memory. Which is over 50 years aged now. I would have to run over it more, to disagree more, and I won't. Though, one thing recalled is that Lolita, at 12, wasn't a virgin when H.H. met her.


We, it's been about 20 years for me. If it hadn't been assigned reading in college, I probably never would have read. The interpretation I provided, that it was kind of a conservative, moralistic tale about the corruption of modern morals, is what I wrote in my paper on it. The professor liked my interpretation anyway.

Well, as you note, Humbert is not a very reliable narrator. His version of events is very self serving. I seem to remember that there was a degree of ambiguity both about 'Lolita's (not her real name as I'm sure you remember, that is just what Humbert called her) real age and her level of sexual experience prior to meeting Humbert. It may be that he told himself that she must have already been experienced as a way to alleviating some of his guilt for taking her innocence and robbing her of a normal childhood.

One thing I do remember vividly is the ending, where Humbert murders Quilty, who had abducted Lolita from the hospital and tried to force her to appear in a pornographic film, and he then he allows himself to be arrested for the crime because he has come to regret his actions, believing that he had deprived Delores (her real name) of a normal life and had essentially ruined her.

It's definitely a cautionary tale, the reader isn't expected to find Humbert sympathetic or think that there was nothing wrong with what he did. I've even heard some people say that they found it 'preachy' because the way everything goes wrong for both characters it was like Nabakov was trying to beat the reader over the head with his message 'what Humbert did is bad, he's a bad, bad man.'



Lolita makes a little fun of H.H.'s naivety, as to her experience, by relating her adventures with two friends. It wasn't a speculation by H.H. Assuming that she was a reliable narrator. Nor was there ambiguity as to her age when she and H.H. first met.

Quilty abducted a willing nymph.

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 'On the Road' Kerouac
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:27 am 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 76847
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
eschator83 wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Descartes staved off the undesired consequences of his approach by pretending they weren't a problem. He is one of the key figures in the destruction of Western thought.

The "destruction of Western thought" is a rather extreme expression of pessimism which I encourage you to rethink.

I stand by it. Descartes intended, fairly explicitly, to overthrow all schools of philosophy that preceded him because they couldn't achieve the same sort of certainty he believed mathematics could provide in its own subject area. (He was wrong about mathematics, BTW--the philosophy of mathematics, when based on the principles descended from Descartes, struggles to say if mathematics is talking about reality at all.) So he is the progenitor of those who say that "science" is the only source of real knowledge.

Descartes' idea that we must be radically skeptical of everything is one of the most enormously destructive ideas ever conceived. It alienates us from the possibility of really knowing anything about world around us (enormously influential as developed by Kant), which produces complete relativism, which leads to what B XVI called the "dictatorship of relativism."

The world around us is sick because it has a very skewed view of reality and a very skewed view of what it means to be a human being, and Descartes sits in the line of people who helped create and popularize those distortions (William of Ockham being at its head).

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1   [ 19 posts ]   


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Jump to: