Jack Kerouac wrote a number of hugely influential and popular novels. He is remembered as one of the key figures of the legendary Beat generation. As much as anything, he came to represent a philosophy, a way of life. Ann Douglas is Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She has published numerous essays, articles and book reviews on American culture in papers and periodicals such as The New York Times, The Nation and Slate, and introductions for Little Women, Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Subterraneans among others. Prof. Douglas teaches twentieth-century American literature, film, music, and politics, with an emphasis on the Cold War era, African-American culture, and post-colonial approaches. She is currently at work on a book, Noir Nation: Cold War U.S. Culture 1945-1960.