30 Moving Quotes by Jack Kerouac

Last updated on Mar 13th, 2022

30 Moving Quotes by Jack Kerouac

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, known as Jack Kerouac, (born March 12, 1922, Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S. – died October 21, 1969, St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.) was an American novelist, poet, and one of the leaders of the Beat movement in the 1950s.

During his lifetime, Kerouac published 14 novels and many poetry volumes. His most notable works include the novels On the Road (1957), The Dharma Bums (1958), Doctor Sax (1959), Big Sur (1962), Desolation Angels (1965), and the poem Mexico City Blues (1959).

Kerouac’s literary works had a broad cultural impact, especially on the rock music of the 1960s.

Soon I'll find the right words, they'll be very simple... - Jack Kerouac (Some of the Dharma Quotes)
1

Soon I’ll find the right words, they’ll be very simple…Book Six, Some of the Dharma (1953–1956; published 1997)

You can't teach the old maestro a new tune. - Jack Kerouac (On the Road Quotes)
2

You can’t teach the old maestro a new tune.Part I, Chapter 11, On the Road (1957)

All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land. - Jack Kerouac (Pomes All Sizes Quotes)
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All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land.Running Through-Chinese Poem Song, Pomes All Sizes (compiled 1960; published 1992)

My witness is the empty sky. - Jack Kerouac (Some of the Dharma Quotes)
4

My witness is the empty sky.Book Four, Some of the Dharma (1953–1956; published 1997)

The happiness consists in realizing that it is all a great strange dream. - Jack Kerouac (Lonesome Traveler Quotes)
5

The happiness consists in realizing that it is all a great strange dream.Essay 2. Mexico Fellaheen, Lonesome Traveler (1960)

The only truth is music. - Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels Quotes)
6

The only truth is music.Book I, Part II, Chapter 74, Desolation Angels (1965)

Mankind is like dogs, not gods - as long as you don't get mad they'll bite you - but stay mad and you'll never be bitten. Dogs don't respect humility and sorrow. - Jack Kerouac (Some of the Dharma Quotes)
7

Mankind is like dogs, not gods – as long as you don’t get mad they’ll bite you – but stay mad and you’ll never be bitten. Dogs don’t respect humility and sorrow.Book Four, Some of the Dharma (1953–1956; published 1997)

Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree. - Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums Quotes)
8

Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.Chapter 17, The Dharma Bums (1958)

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. - Jack Kerouac (On the Road Quotes)
9

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.Part I, Chapter 1, On the Road (1957)

As early pioneers in the knowing, that when you lose your reason, you attain highest perfect knowing. - Jack Kerouac (Book of Blues Quotes)
10

As early pioneers in the knowing, that when you lose your reason, you attain highest perfect knowing.55th Chorus, Book of Blues (1954–1961)

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls. - Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums Quotes)
11

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.Chapter 19, The Dharma Bums (1958)

Man lowers his head and lunges into civilization, forgetting the days of his infancy when he sought truth in a snowflake or a stick. Man forgets the wisdom of the child. - Jack Kerouac (Atop an Underwood Quotes)
12

Man lowers his head and lunges into civilization, forgetting the days of his infancy when he sought truth in a snowflake or a stick. Man forgets the wisdom of the child.Part II, Story 3. God, Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings (1936–1943; published 1999)

While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light. - Jack Kerouac (The Scripture of the Golden Eternity Quotes)
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While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.Poem 22, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (1960)

Don't tell them too much about your soul. They're waiting for just that. - Jack Kerouac (Windblown World Quotes)
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Don’t tell them too much about your soul. They’re waiting for just that.Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac (1947-1954)

Sociability is just a big smile and a big smile is nothing but teeth. - Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums Quotes)
15

Sociability is just a big smile and a big smile is nothing but teeth.Chapter 28, The Dharma Bums (1958)

The page is long, blank, and full of truth. When I am through with it, it shall probably be long, full, and empty with words. - Jack Kerouac (Atop an Underwood Quotes)
16

The page is long, blank, and full of truth. When I am through with it, it shall probably be long, full, and empty with words.Part II, Story 3. God, Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings (1936–1943; published 1999)

Jack Kerouac Quotes about Travel

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry. - Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels Quotes)
17

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.Book I, Part I, Chapter 2, Desolation Angels (1965)

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road. - Jack Kerouac (On the Road Quotes)
18

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.Part I, Chapter 12, On the Road: The Original Scroll (August 16, 2007)

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars. - Jack Kerouac (On the Road Quotes)
19

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars.Part I, Chapter 4, On the Road (1957)

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life. - Jack Kerouac (On the Road Quotes)
20

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.Part III, Chapter 6, On the Road (1957)

No matter how you travel, how 'successful' your tour, or foreshortened, you always learn something and learn to change your thoughts. - Jack Kerouac (Satori in Paris Quotes)
21

No matter how you travel, how ‘successful’ your tour, or foreshortened, you always learn something and learn to change your thoughts.Chapter 14, Satori in Paris (1966)

Jack Kerouac Quotes on Life

Maybe that's what life is, a wink of the eye, and winking stars... - Jack Kerouac Quotes
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Maybe that’s what life is, a wink of the eye, and winking stars…Letter to Alan Harrington (April 23, 1949)

Believe in the holy contour of life. - Jack Kerouac (Belief and Technique for Modern Prose Quotes)
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Believe in the holy contour of life.Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, published in Evergreen Review (1959)

All of life is a foreign country. - Jack Kerouac Quotes
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All of life is a foreign country.Letter to John Clellon Holmes (June 24, 1949)

Be in love with your life, every detail of it. - Jack Kerouac (Belief and Technique for Modern Prose Quotes)
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Be in love with your life, every detail of it.Belief and Technique for Modern Prose, published in Evergreen Review (1959)

Life must be rich and full of loving - it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone. - Jack Kerouac Quotes
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Life must be rich and full of loving – it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.Letter to Neal Cassady (August 26, 1947)

Life is a gate, a way, a path to Paradise anyway, why not live for fun and joy and love or some sort of girl by a fireside, why not go to your desire and LAUGH... - Jack Kerouac (Big Sur Quotes)
27

Life is a gate, a way, a path to Paradise anyway, why not live for fun and joy and love or some sort of girl by a fireside, why not go to your desire and LAUGH… Chapter 9, Big Sur (1962)

Jack Kerouac Quotes about the World

Avoid the world, it's just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end. - Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels Quotes)
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Avoid the world, it’s just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end.Book II, Part III, Chapter 50, Desolation Angels (1965)

What a horror it would have been if the world was real, because if the world was real, it would be immortal. - Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums Quotes)
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What a horror it would have been if the world was real, because if the world was real, it would be immortal.Chapter 19, The Dharma Bums (1958)

I realized either I was crazy or the world was crazy; and I picked on the world. And of course I was right. - Jack Kerouac (Vanity of Duluoz Quotes)
30

I realized either I was crazy or the world was crazy; and I picked on the world. And of course I was right.Book V, Part I, Vanity of Duluoz (1968)

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1

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.No source

2

The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.No source

3

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.No source