The Duluoz Legend


Tyler School of Art


Mary Kate McDevitt

Prompted with the project of a series of three books by a particular author, I immediately thought of Jack Kerouac. As a sixteen year old, I spent a summer in San Francisco for a pre-college program and learned of the beats while wandering around North Beach and visiting City Lights bookstore. At the time of the project, I had recently learned that Kerouac considered most of his works as pieces of a larger semi-autobiographical story, which he referred to as "The Duluoz Legend." All in all, the tale is comprised of 17 Kerouac novels, so I chose a selection of three: The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, and Big Sur. These novels cover three seminal points in Kerouac's life and offer various perspectives on his grappling with fame. 

With the design of these books I wanted to suggest the progression of time, while also using a gestural collaged symbol to identify a unique theme to each book. In The Dharma Bums Kerouac explores his relationship with Buddhism. Desolation Angels picks up where The Dharma Bums leaves off, with Kerouac on top of Desolation Peak, where he spends time in isolation, contemplating "the void." In Big Sur, Kerouac is deteriorating physically and mentally mostly due to his addiction to alcohol, and thinks back to his prior experiences with a jaded and apathetic point of view.