Kerouac's Original Typescript Scroll Manuscript of The Dharma Bums to Auction


The Dharma Bums scroll

Manuscript material and inscribed copies from a wide range of 20th century writers at auction with Sotheby's includes signed Jack Kerouac letters, inscribed copies of his novels, and the original typescript scroll manuscript of The Dharma Bums.

The Highlights of Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker sale which ends December 8 features items collected over three decades with "an emphasis on the process of writing and writer’s discussion of their craft" from Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Henry Miller, J.D. Salinger, and John Steinbeck.

Kerouac began work on The Dharma Bums, his sequel to On the Road, on November 26, 1957. In 18-hour sessions, he completed the first draft in just 11 days. He was a fast draftsman and found that reloading paper into his typewriter would reduced his ability to write without inhibition, turning to the scroll to allow uninterrupted composition.

This typescript first draft typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, is a roll of wove (probably Teletype) paper he created by joining 10 separate strips of paper with tape into a long scroll, 61ft long. The text is single-spaced, without paragraph or sectional breaks, and with occasional manuscript revisions in Kerouac’s hand. He boldly wrote the title The Dharma Bums in red watercolor at the head of the scroll. The estimate is $300,000 - $500,000.

Other auction highlights include:

* a rare autograph manuscript of Ernest Hemingway’s short story The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1936), written in pencil, with sections excised from the final version. Estimate is $300,000 - $500,000.

* Henry Miller's typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. Estimate $100,000-$150,000

* two Gabriel García Márquez typescripts for La Siesta del Martes with Márquez's manuscript corrections. Estimate $20,000- $30,000

* a copy of James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain, inscribed to Ed Parone, a talent scout for William Morris Agency and close friend of the author. Estimate $8,000 - $12,000

* Walt Whitman's Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865, his first-hand account of New York City on the day of Lincoln's death. Estimate $60,000 - $80,000 

* a corrected typescript for John Cheever’s Falconer (1977) with the author’s final edits