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Lucien CARR

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Key figure in the Beat generation - Carr stated in court that Kammerer had stalked him in a homosexual obsession
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 14, 1944
Date of arrest: Next day (surrenders)
Date of birth: March 1, 1925
Victim profile: David Kammerer, 35
Method of murder: Stabbing with a Boy Scout knife
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to a term of one-to-twenty years in prison on October 9, 1944. Released on parole in 1946. Died on January 28, 2005
 
 

 
 

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Lucien Carr (March 1, 1925 – January 28, 2005) was a key figure in the Beat generation, and later an editor for United Press International.

Carr was a roommate of Allen Ginsberg at Columbia University in the 1940s and met Jack Kerouac through Kerouac's then-girlfriend Edie Parker. He introduced both men to William S. Burroughs, whom he had known in St. Louis, Missouri.

Carr stabbed David Kammerer to death in an altercation in 1944, and pled guilty to manslaughter, explaining how he disposed of the body in the Hudson River.

Carr had met Kammerer in St. Louis, and Carr stated in court that Kammerer had stalked him in a homosexual obsession. Carr was sentenced up to 20 years in prison for murder, but served only the minimum two years in the Elmira Correctional Facility in Upstate New York.

Kerouac was arrested as an accessory, after helping Carr to dispose of evidence, and bail was set for $2,500. Kerouac persuaded Edie Parker that he would marry her if she helped him make bail. Edie bailed Jack out of jail, and they were married. Their marriage was annulled only one year later.

In Jack Kerouac's The Town and the City, Carr is represented by the character "Kenneth Wood", and a more literal depiction of events appears in Vanity of Duluoz. According to the book The Beat Generation in New York by Bill Morgan, the Carr incident also inspired Kerouac and Burroughs to collaborate in 1945 on a mystery novel entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, which was not published.

After his prison term, Carr went to work for UPI, where he was initially hired as a copy boy in 1946. He became the night news editor in 1956 and went on to head the general news desk until his retirement in 1993. For a period, he was married to Kerouac's ex-girlfriend Alene Lee, on whom the character of Mardou Fox had been based in Kerouac's The Subterraneans.

After a long battle with bone cancer, Carr died at George Washington University Hospital after collapsing at his Washington, D.C. home.

The novelist Caleb Carr is Lucien Carr's son.


Lucien Carr (March 1, 1925, New York City – January 28, 2005) was a key member of the original New York City circle of the Beat Generation in the 1940s; later he worked for many years as an editor for United Press International.

Early life

Carr was born in New York City; his parents, Russell Carr and Marian Gratz Carr, were both products of socially prominent St. Louis families. After his parents separated in 1930, young Lucien and his mother moved back to St. Louis; Carr spent the rest of his childhood there.

At the age of 14, Carr met David Kammerer (b. 1911), a man who would have a profound influence on the course of his life. Kammerer was a teacher of English and a physical education instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. Kammerer was a childhood friend of William S. Burroughs, another scion of St. Louis wealth who knew the Carr family. Burroughs and Kammerer had gone to primary school together, and as young men, they traveled together and explored Paris’s night life: Burroughs said Kammerer “was always very funny, the veritable life of the party, and completely without any middle-class morality.” Kammerer met Carr when he was leading a youth group of which Carr was a member, and quickly became infatuated with the teenager.

Over the next five years, Kammerer pursued Carr, showing up wherever the young man was enrolled at school. Carr would later insist, as would his friends and family, that Kammerer had been hounding Carr sexually with a predatory persistence that would today be considered stalking.

Whether Kammerer’s attentions were frightening or flattering to the younger man (or both) is now a matter of some debate among those who chronicle the history of the Beat Generation. What is not in dispute is that Carr moved quickly from school to school: from the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine to the University of Chicago, and that Kammerer followed him to each one. The two of them socialized on occasion. Carr always insisted, and Burroughs believed, that he never had sex with Kammerer; Jack Kerouac biographer Dennis McNally wrote that Kammerer "was a Doppelgänger whose sexual desires Lucien would not gratify; their connection was an intertwined mass of frustration that hinted ominously of trouble."

Carr’s University of Chicago career ended quickly and badly, with an episode that concluded with the young man putting his head into a gas oven. He explained away this act as a “work of art,” but the apparent suicide attempt, which Carr’s family believed was catalyzed by Kammerer, led to a two-week stay in the psychiatric ward at Cook County hospital. Carr’s mother, who had by this time moved to New York City, brought her son there and enrolled him at Columbia University, close to her own home.

If Marian Carr was seeking to protect her son from David Kammerer, she did not succeed. Kammerer soon quit his job and followed Carr to New York, moving into an apartment on Morton street in the West Village.

William Burroughs also moved to New York, to an apartment a block away from Kammerer. The two older men remained friends.

Columbia and the Beats

As a freshman at Columbia, Carr was recognized as an exceptional student with a quick, roving mind. A fellow student from Lionel Trilling’s humanities class described him as “stunningly brilliant…. It seemed as if he and Trilling were having a private conversation.”

It was also at Columbia that Carr befriended Allen Ginsberg in the Union Theological Seminary dormitory on 122nd street (an overflow residence for Columbia), when Ginsberg knocked on the door to find out who was playing a recording of a Brahms trio. Soon after, a young woman Carr had befriended, Edie Parker, introduced Carr to her boyfriend, Jack Kerouac, then twenty-two and nearing the end of his short career as a sailor. Carr, in turn, introduced Ginsberg and Kerouac to one another – and both of them to his older friend with more first-hand experience at decadence: William Burroughs. The core of the New York Beat scene had formed, with Carr at the center. As Ginsberg put it, “Lou was the glue.”

Carr, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs explored New York’s grimier underbelly together. Carr had a taste for provocative behavior, for bawdy songs and for coarse antics aimed at shocking those with staid middle-class values. According to Kerouac, Carr once convinced him to get into an empty beer keg, which Carr then rolled down Broadway. Ginsberg wrote in his journal at the time: “Know these words, and you speak the Carr language: fruit, phallus, clitoris, cacoethes, feces, foetus, womb, Rimbaud.” It was Carr who first introduced Ginsberg to the poetry and the story of Arthur Rimbaud, the 19th-century French poet whose youthful brilliance, decadent style and early death make him an enduring favorite among college students. Rimbaud would be a major influence on Ginsberg’s poetry.

Ginsberg was plainly fascinated by Carr, whom he viewed as a self-destructive egotist but also as a possessor of real genius. Fellow students saw Carr as talented and dissolute, a prank-loving late-night reveler who haunted the dark pockets of Chelsea and Greenwich Village until dawn, without making a dent in his brilliant performance in the classroom. On one occasion, asked why he was carrying a jar of jam across the campus, Carr simply explained that he was “going on a date.” Returning to his dorm in the early hours another morning to find that his bed had been short-sheeted, Carr retaliated by spraying the rooms of his dorm-mates with the hallway fire-hose – while they were still sleeping.

Carr developed what he called the “New Vision,” a thesis recycled from Emersonian transcendentalism and Paris Bohemianism which helped undergird the Beats’ creative rebellion:

“1) Naked self-expression is the seed of creativity. 2) The artist’s consciousness is expanded by derangement of the senses. 3) Art eludes conventional morality.”

For ten months, Kammerer remained a fringe member of this simmering crowd, still utterly infatuated with Carr, who sometimes avoided him and on other occasions indulged Kammerer’s attentions. On one occasion he may even have brought Kammerer to a session of Trilling’s class.

Accounts of this period report that Kammerer’s presence and lovelorn devotion to Carr made many of the other Beats uncomfortable. On one occasion, Burroughs found Kammerer trying to hang Kerouac's cat. Kammerer’s psyche was evidently decaying; he was barely scraping by, helping a janitor clean his building on Morton Street in exchange for rent.

In July 1944, Carr and Kerouac began talking about shipping out of New York on a Merchant Marine vessel, a scheme which drove Kammerer frantic with anxiety at the possibility of losing Carr. In early August, Kammerer crawled into Carr’s room via the fire escape and watched him sleep for half an hour; he was caught by a guard as he crawled back out again.

Killing in Riverside Park

On August 13, 1944, Carr and Kerouac attempted, and failed, to ship out of New York to France on a merchant ship – aiming to fulfill a fantasy of walking across France in character as a Frenchman (Kerouac) and his deaf-mute friend (Carr), and hoping to be in Paris in time for the Allied liberation. Kicked off the ship by the first mate at the last minute, the two men drank together at the Beats’ regular bar, the West End. Kerouac left first, and bumped into Kammerer, who asked where Carr was. Kerouac told him.

Kammerer caught up with Carr at the West End, and the two men went for a walk, ending up in Riverside Park on Manhattan's upper west side.

According to Carr's version of the night, he and Kammerer were resting near 115th street when Kammerer made yet another sexual advance. When Carr rejected it, he said, Kammerer assaulted him physically, and being larger, gained the upper hand. In desperation and panic, Carr said, he stabbed the older man, using a Boy Scout knife from his St. Louis childhood. Carr then tied his assailant's hands and feet, wrapped Kammerer's belt around his arms, weighted the body with rocks, and dumped it in the nearby Hudson River.

Next, Carr went to the apartment of William Burroughs, gave him Kammerer's bloodied pack of cigarettes, and explained the incident. Burroughs flushed the cigarettes down the toilet, and told Carr to get a lawyer and turn himself in. Instead, Carr sought out Kerouac, who helped him dispose of the knife and some of Kammerer's belongings before the two went to a movie and the Museum of Modern Art to look at paintings. Finally, Carr went to his mother’s house and then to the office of the New York District Attorney, where he confessed. The prosecutors, uncertain whether the story was true – or whether a crime had even been committed – kept him in custody until they had recovered Kammerer's body. Carr identified the corpse, and then led police to where he had buried Kammerer's eyeglasses in Morningside Park.

Kerouac (who was identified in The New York Times coverage of the crime as a "23-year-old seaman") was arrested as a material witness, as was Burroughs. Burroughs' father posted bail, but in a famous Beat side-story, Kerouac’s father refused to post the hundred-dollar bond to bail him out. In the end, Edie Parker’s parents agreed to post the money if Kerouac would marry their daughter. With detectives serving as witnesses, Edie and Jack were married at the Municipal Building, and after his release, he moved to Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, Parker’s hometown. Their marriage was annulled within a year [reference?].

Carr was charged with second-degree murder. The story was closely followed in the press, involving as it did a well-liked, gifted student from a prominent family, New York's premier university, and the scandalous whiff of homosexuality.

The newspaper coverage embraced Carr's story of an obsessed homosexual preying on an appealing heterosexual younger man, who finally lashed out in self-defense. The Daily News called the killing an "honor slaying." If there were subtler shadings to the tale of Carr’s five-year saga with Kammerer, the newspapers ignored them. Carr pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter, and his mother testified at a sentencing hearing about Kammerer's predatory habits. Carr was sentenced to a term of one-to-twenty years in prison; he served two years in the Elmira Correctional Facility in Upstate New York and was released.

Carr's Beat crowd (which Ginsberg called "the Libertine Circle") was, for a time, shattered by the killing. Several members sought to write about the events. Kerouac's The Town and the City is a fictional retelling, in which Carr is represented by the character "Kenneth Wood"; a more literal depiction of events appears in Kerouac’s later Vanity of Duluoz. Soon after the killing, Allen Ginsberg began a novel about the crime which he called The Bloodsong, but his English instructor at Columbia, seeking to preclude more negative publicity for Carr or the university, convinced Ginsberg to abandon it. According to author Bill Morgan in his book, The Beat Generation in New York, the Carr incident also inspired Kerouac and Burroughs to collaborate in 1945 on a novel entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, which was published for the first time in its entirety in November 2008.

Settling Down

After his prison term, Carr went to work for United Press, which later became United Press International, where he was hired as a copy boy in 1946. He remained on good terms with his Beat friends, and served as best man when Kerouac impetuously married Joan Haverty in November 1950.

Carr has sometimes been credited with providing Kerouac with a roll of teletype paper “pilfered” from the UP offices, on which Kerouac then wrote the entire first draft of On the Road in a 20-day marathon fueled by coffee, speed, and marijuana. The scroll was real, but Carr’s share of this first draft tale is probably a conflation of two different episodes; the 119-foot first roll, which Kerouac wrote in April 1951, was actually many different large sheets of paper trimmed down and taped together. After Kerouac finished that first version, he moved briefly into Carr's apartment on 21st street, where he wrote a second draft in May on a roll of United Press teletype, and then transferred that work to individual pages for his publisher.

Carr remained a diligent and devoted employee of UP / UPI. In 1956, when Ginsberg’s “Howl” and Kerouac’s On The Road were about to be national sensations, Carr quietly was promoted to night news editor.

Leaving behind his youthful exhibitionism, Carr came to cherish his privacy. In one well-noted gesture, Carr asked Ginsberg to remove his name from the dedication at the start of “Howl.” The poet agreed. Carr even became a voice of caution in Ginsberg’s life, warning him to “keep the hustlers and parasites at arm’s length.” For many years, Ginsberg would visit the UPI offices and press Carr to cover the various causes with which Ginsberg had allied himself. Carr continued to serve Kerouac as a drinking buddy, a reader and critic, reviewing early drafts of Kerouac's work and absorbing Kerouac's growing frustrations with the publishing world.

Carr married Francesca van Hartz and the couple had three children: Simon, Caleb and Ethan (in 1994, Caleb published The Alienist, a novel which became a best-seller and made the son the acclaimed author his father once meant to be).

“When I met him in the mid-50s,” wrote jazz musician David Amram, Carr “was so sophisticated and worldly and fun to be with that even while you always felt at home with him, you knew he was always one step ahead and expected you to follow.” According to Amram, Carr remained loyal to Kerouac to the end of the older man’s life, even as Kerouac descended into alienation and alcoholism.

Lucien Carr spent 47 years, his entire professional career, with UPI, and went on to head the general news desk until his retirement in 1993. If he was famous as a young man for his flamboyant style and outrageous vocabulary, he perfected an opposite style as an editor, and nurtured the skills of brevity in the generations of young journalists whom he mentored. He was known for his oft-repeated suggestion, “Why don’t you just start with the second paragraph?”  One reporter quoted Carr as having two acceptable standards for a good lead: "Make me cry or make me horny."

Carr died at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC in January 2005 after a long battle with bone cancer.

Wikipedia.org


Lucien Carr

Infield

Beat Generation Muse

Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg were floormates in a Columbia University dormitory in 1943. During the Christmas holiday break, Ginsberg, wandering the deserted hallway, finds his way into Carr's room. There, he is impressed by a copy of Rimbaud's Season in Hell on Carr's desk. The two college boys become friends.

Carr would soon introduce Ginsberg to his St. Louis friends, William Burroughs and David Kammerer. In early 1944, Carr would meet another Columbia student, Jack Kerouac, from Lowell Massachusetts. It will be Lucien Carr, who after a night of drinking at the West End bar, will roll Kerouac in a barrel down the sidewalks of upper Broadway. Soon afterwards, Carr will introduce Kerouac to Ginsberg and Burroughs.

Thus, it is through Lucien Carr that the three primary Beat Generation writers will meet each other. Burroughs, the St. Louis aristocrat and Kerouac, the working-class athlete from Lowell, Massachusetts and Ginsberg the Jewish intellectual from New Jersey, strangely different shades of America, will coalesce to form the nucleus of what will become the Beat Generation vortex.

On August 13, 1944 Lucien Carr stabs David Kammerer twice in the heart with a boy scout knife. He then dumps Kammerer's corpse into the Hudson River. After seeking advice from Burroughs, who tells him to go to the police, Carr goes over to Joan Vollmer's apartment to get help from Kerouac who is asleep on the couch with his girlfriend Edie Parker. After a nice breakfast, Kerouac helps Carr dispose of Kammerer's glasses and the two wander the streets of New York. Later in the day, Carr turns himself in. He is convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter. On October 9, he is sent to the Elmira Reformatory where he will stay for two years before being paroled.

Kammerer's death and the accidental shooting of Joan Vollmer by William Burroughs seven years later, represent two important events that help marginalize the members of the Beat Generation vortex. They also set the pattern of human destruction that seems to hover over the movement. In the later 1950s, Beat-related suicides will become a depressingly familiar occurrence as the difficulties of the margin are more frequently explored.

Carr, although not a Beat Generation writer is a Beat muse of the first magnitude. His own specialized form of rebellion served as an influential model to those that did attempt to transcribe their lives. However, because of Carr's sensitivities to police-related problems, Kerouac, who always wrote about everyone he knew, obliged Carr and kept him out of his novels. Carr's name never appears in the various character identity keys decoding who is who in Kerouac's novels.

After getting out of prison, Carr began a lifelong career as a news service editor. He died January 28, 2005 in Washington, D.C.

CosmicBaseball.com


Lucien Carr, Beat Shortstop, Dies

January 29, 2005

Lucien Carr, born March 1, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri died yesterday in Washington, D.C. Mr. Carr was, for 47 years, employed by the United Press International news organization. Hired as a copy boy in 1946 he became a night news editor ten years later. When he retired in 1993 he was a general news desk editor.

Carr has been described as the "soul of UPI" and a "towering figure in journalism." A former UPI managing editor called Carr "the absolute best newsman I ever knew." When asked what the favorite news story of his career was, Carr answered the 1969 Apollo moon landing.

Carr joined the news wire service just after completing a two year sentence at the Elmira Reformatory in New York state. He had been sentenced in October, 1944 for the August 14 first degree manslaughter of David Kammerer. This unfortunate occurrence, was also a landmark event in the history of the Beat Generation, of which Carr was a principal founder.

Allen Ginsberg met Lucien Carr at Columbia University when both were students there. Ginsberg called Carr, "the most angelic looking kid I ever saw, with blond hair." In late 1943 Carr met Edie Parker, who at the time was Jack Kerouac's girlfriend. (Parker would become Kerouac's first of three wives, in large part because of the Kammerer crime.) Parker introduced Carr to Kerouac. Carr introduced Kerouac to Ginsberg. And Carr introduced Kerouac and Ginsberg to his St. Louis friend William S. Burroughs. These four, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Carr were the  founders of the cultural and literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Carr and Ginsberg, influenced by Rimbaud and Yeats, had already been discussing their "New Vision" before they met Kerouac. Carr's eccentric friend Burroughs had told them about Spengler's book Decline of the West. As the so-called Second World War progressed, these young college students, with Carr very much in the lead, explored and experimented with drugs, sexuality and general creativity. It was a tumultuous time.

Carr remained friends with his brother Beats although he never liked being mentioned in their books or poems. Carr asked Ginsberg to remove his name from the dedication in later editions of Howl and Other Poems. Nevertheless, he was a significant muse in their orbit. Kerouac's mysterious Old Angel Midnight went through several working titles, one of which was "Old Lucien Midnight." In an October, 1944 letter to Ginsberg, Kerouac wrote about his friend Lucien.

Lucien is different, or at least, his egocentricity is different; he hates himself intensely...Hating himself as he does, hating his human kindness he seeks new vision, a post human, post intelligence.

In a September, 1949 journal entry, Kerouac writes of a "Haunted Lucien." But by the late 1950s, despite occasional drinking reunions, Carr had left the "New Vision" behind. He did not attend Kerouac's funeral in Lowell in October, 1969.

He lived in New York City until 1983 when he moved with UPI to Washington, D.C. After retirement in 1993 he spent time sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Carr leaves behind three sons and five grandchildren.

CosmicBaseball.com


David Kammerer

By Connie Nisinger

Beat Generation Figure. Kammerer's death was one of the most gruesome historical milestones in the history of the Beat Generation. He was stabbed to death with a Boy Scout knife by his friend Lucien Carr.

After stabbing him twice, Carr disposed of the body by weighting it down with rocks and pushing it into the Hudson River. The following day, he disposed of the knife by throwing it into a sewer and buried Kammerer's eyeglasses in Morningside Park.

According to Carr, Kammerer had made unwanted sexual advances towards him. The relationship between the two had begun five years earlier in St. Louis when Kammerer led a group of Boy Scouts on weekly nature walks. He became infatuated with the young Boy Scout Carr. When Carr went to New York to attend Columbia University, Kammerer followed him.

While in New York, Kammerer lived near another Beat Generation figure, William Burroughs, who also knew Carr. As part of the St. Louis contingent, Kammerer became associated with the early members of the Beat Generation such as Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Herbert Huncke.

On the night of Kammerer's death, Carr was drinking with friends (including Kerouac and Ginsberg). Kammerer went to the bar to see Carr and they left together early in the morning. That was the last time anyone saw David Kammerer alive. After disposing of the body, Carr went to Burroughs' apartment. He advised Carr to get a lawyer and turn himself in to the police. Instead, Carr went to see Jack Kerouac and they spent the next day disposing of the knife and Kammerer's glasses.

On the following day, Carr turned himself in to the police.Carr confessed to the crime and was held without bail. He later pleaded "guilty" to manslaughter and was sentenced to two years detention at the Elmira Reformatory. Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg all later wrote about this tragedy.


David Kammerer

David Kammerer's death became one of the gruesome historical milestones in the history of the Beat Generation. He was stabbed to death with a Boy Scout knife by his friend Lucien Carr on the night of August 13, 1944. The tragedy took place in New York City's Riverside Park. After fatally stabbing Kammerer twice, Carr disposed of the corpse by weighting it down with rocks and pushing it into the Hudson River. Later the next day, with the help of his Columbia University friend, Jack Kerouac, Carr disposed of the knife down a sewer and buried Kammerer's eyeglasses in Morningside Park.

As to the reasons Carr killed Kammerer, well, we only have Carr's version of events since there were no other witnesses. His story related and repeated to the police in a confession was also reported in the New York Times. According to Carr, Kammerer had made unwanted sexual advances.

The relationship between the 33-year-old Kammerer and the 19-year-old Carr had begun five years earlier in St. Louis when Kammerer led a group of Boy Scouts on Saturday nature walks. Kammerer became infatuated with the young Boy Scout Carr. When Carr went to New York to attend Columbia, Kammerer followed. In New York, Kammerer lived near another St. Louis friend, William Burroughs, who also knew Carr. As part of this St. Louis contingent, Kammerer became associated with the early members of the Beat Generation such as Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Herbert Huncke.

On the night of Kammerer's death, Carr was drinking at the West End Bar with his friends including Kerouac and Ginsberg. Kammerer went to the bar to see Carr and they left together somewhere between 2 and 3 in the early morning. That was the last time anyone saw David Kammerer alive. After disposing the body in the river Carr went to Burroughs' apartment. Burroughs advised Carr to get a lawyer and turn himself in to the police. Instead Carr went to see Jack Kerouac who was sleeping with Edie Parker at her apartment (shared with Joan Vollmer) on the upper West Side. Kerouac and Carr then spent the next day disposing of the knife and walking about New York. On the following day Carr turned himself in to the police.

A story in the New York Times on August 17 outlined the details of the homicide. Carr had confessed to the deed and aided the police in the recovery of Kammerer's "bound and stabbed body" from the "murky waters" of the river. On August 19 Carr was arraigned in homicide court. Magistrate Anna Kross ordered Carr held without bail. In September Carr pleaded "guilty" to a manslaughter charge and in October he was given the relatively light sentence of 2 years detention at the Elmira Reformatory.

Both Burroughs and Kerouac were detained as material witnesses to the crime. While Burroughs was bailed out quickly, Kerouac's very disappointed father left him to languish in jail. Kerouac eventually was released when he got married to Edie Parker, who's family provided the bail money.

Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg all wrote about this tragedy. Kerouac and Burroughs collaborated together to write And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks (1945). The book remains unpublished although a chapter written by Burroughs has been published in Word Virus. Ginsberg attempted a fictionalized account of the event as a project for his creative writing class at Columbia. However, since the entire event represented nothing but bad publicity for Columbia Ginsberg was admonished not to write about the event anymore. The unpublished manuscript is now in the Columbia University archives.

Kerouac attempted at least two additional renditions of the event. In his first novel The Town and the City (1950) Kammerer's death is made a suicide, presumably to protect Carr who did not want or need further publicity. Kerouac wrote again about Kammerer's death in Vanity of Duluoz (1967). In that novel the characters Franz Mueller and Claude de Maubris represent Kammerer and Carr respectively. Ironically, in the book Kerouac has Franz save Claude from a suicide attempt.

It has been suggested by Paul Collins, in "Fiction, Fact & Jack Kerouac" that the relatively light sentence Carr received for the murder was due to the fact that his defense stressed that Kammerer was homosexual. This was a theme the media picked up on and emphasized. Kammerer's murder became an "honor killing" committed by Carr to protect himself from unwanted sexual advances. At least that's Lucien Carr's story, and understandably, he's sticking to it.

Kammerer holds an important place in the early history of the Beat Generation. He was the link between Burroughs and Carr. He was perhaps the first victim of the "new vision." Like the later tragic and premature deaths of Bill Cannastra, Joan (Vollmer) Burroughs, Natalie Jackson and Elise Cowen, Kammerer's death helped contribute to the perception that the Beats were a lawless group of anti-social psychopaths.

CosmicBaseball.com

 

 

 
 
 
 
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