The manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s first work, the unpublished The Sea is My Brother, has been acquired by Harpers in the US and is set to be published in its entirety for the first time.
The 158-page handwritten manuscript of The Sea is My Brother was penned by Kerouac during his time as a merchant seaman. In his notes on the project, he had written that the novel’s characters numbered “the vanishing American, the big free by, the American Indian, the last of the pioneers, the last of the hoboes”. The plot follows sailor Wesley Martin, who, Kerouac said, “escapes society for the sea, but finds the sea a place of terrible loneliness.”
In addition to the manuscript, Harper US has its hands on correspondence and commentary from a young Kerouac, which further illuminates the writer’s style, motivation and development. A deal for the book’s publication in the UK is still to be agreed.