by Elbert Lenrow ; edited by Katherine H. Burkmann ; with an introduction by Howard Cunnell
"Kerouac Ascending: Memorabilia of the Decade of on the Road" is a memoir written by Elbert Lenrow about his relationship with Jack Kerouac, whom he taught at the New School in New York when Jack was emerging as a writer and with Allen Ginsberg, both of whom Lenrow befriended and encouraged. Lenrow writes with sympathy and charm about both writers and their 'beat' friends, revealing Kerouac's seriously academic side by sharing papers he wrote in his course and giving insight about both writers through letters and poems they shared or wrote in Lenrow's apartment. In her preface, Katherine Burkman, editor and cousin to Lenrow, gives a context for the memoir, expanding on Lenrow's gifts as a teacher while Lenrow's niece, Barbara Phillips, adds further insights. Howard Cunnell's Introduction offers excellent material on the young Kerouac's development, partly under Lenrow's tutelage. An appendix of Ginsberg's handwritten letters to Elbert, typewritten in the memoir, reveals the drama of his own handwriting and the enormous warmth in his relationship with Elbert over a period of many years. It includes an introduction by Howard Cunnell.