Some lost bliss : tracing the dark night of the soul in Jack Kerouac's 'Visions of Gerard', 'The dharma bums', 'Desolation angels', and 'Big Sur' : and an excerpt from the novel 'Mayor of Hollywood'
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The research and creative portions of this thesis develop from the various responses individuals experience in the wake of a loss. The research into the evolution of faith in author Jack Kerouac's 'Duluoz Legend' and the central storyline of the novel 'Mayor of Hollywood' spring from the same well: the crossroads between death and faith. The research piece concerns itself with Kerouac's exploration of the spiritual interior in the wake of the death of his protagonist's older brother, developing a personal faith that blends Buddhism and Catholicism unfettered by formal religious practice, mirroring instead an older path of Catholic mysticism. Mayor of Hollywood explores the opposite side of the religious coin: the protagonist, Lucy Cassidy, has little compelling interest in her own spiritual existence but must address the practicalities of her partner's formal practice of Catholicism, including dietary restrictions, regular worship, moral strictures, and the religious formalization of the guilt process. At the same time, Lucy and Mark must resolve several deaths that have occurred, substituting the secular path of crime detection for the more spiritual quest to reunite with God. Linked by the shared topic of death, the two halves of the thesis address faith as a whole, exploring the interior and exterior spiritual life.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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