Saturday, August 06, 2011
comedians in ON THE ROAD: at least four mentions of W.C. Fields so far and two of Groucho Marx. The character Dean Moriarty is compared to both Fields and Marx. As we have seen, McNeil thinks of him more as Dean Martin ("Their names are almost the same," he remarked on the phone last night.) My friend Eugene referred to Fields as "the great surrealist poet" (Kerouac similarly - I guess - emphasizes his "saintly" qualities). Does somebody want to write a scholarly article about the influence of movie comedians on "literary" writers? George Saunders once told me about how Steve Martin had inspired some of his work. Barry Hannah felt the same way about Jonathan Winters and Richard Pryor. Movies are all over ON THE ROAD. I found it interesting that when the narrator talks about OF MICE AND MEN, it's the movie he means, not the Steinbeck novel as you might expect. Nature is described in terms of film: "the gray, dirty dawn, like the dawn when Joel McCrea met Veronica Lake in a diner..." I'm sure everybody knows this already, but I just now got around to reading ON THE ROAD for some reason, so I beg your pardon.