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Joyce Johnson
Joyce Johnson by David Shankbone.jpg
Johnson at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival
Born Joyce Glassman
Queens, New York,
United States
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Notable work(s) Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958

Joyce Johnson (born 1935) is an American author of fiction and nonfiction who won a National Book Critics Circle Award for her memoir Minor Characters about her relationship with Jack Kerouac.

Personal life[edit]

Born Joyce Glassman to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, Joyce was raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a few blocks from the apartment of Joan Vollmer Adams where William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac lived from 1944-46. She was a child actress and appeared in the Broadway production of I Remember Mama, which she writes about in her 2004 memoir Missing Men.

At the age of 13, Joyce rebelled against her controlling parents and began hanging out in Washington Square. She matriculated at Barnard College at 16, failing her graduation by one class. It was at Barnard that she became friends with Elise Cowen (briefly Allen Ginsberg's lover) who introduced her to the Beat circle. Ginsberg arranged for Glassman and Kerouac to meet on a blind date while she was working on her first novel,Come and Join the Dance, which was sold to Random House when she was only twenty-one and appeared five years later in 1962 just as she was starting her long career as a book editor.

Joyce was married briefly to abstract painter James Johnson, who was killed in a motorcycle accident. From her second marriage to painter Peter Pinchbeck, which ended in divorce, came her son, Daniel Pinchbeck, also an author.


Jerry Yulsman's photograph of Joyce Johnson and Jack Kerouac outside the Kettle of Fish Bar in Greenwich Village during the 1950s.

Johnson's fiction and articles have appeared in Harper's, Harper's Bazaar, New York, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.

In Minor Characters (Houghton Mifflin, 1983), the book she is best known for, she looked back at the years 1957 and 1958, the time when Kerouac rose from obscurity to fame with the publication of On the Road. Johnson brought attention to the experiences of women associated with the Beat Generation writers. Her memoir won a 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award.Other memoirs and anthologies have since been published by and about women of the Beat Generation.[1]

Johnson has published three novels: Come and Join the Dance (by Joyce Glassman) (Atheneum, 1962). Bad Connections (Putnam, 1978), and In the Night Cafe (Dutton, 1987). Come and Join the Dance has been recognized by scholars such as Ann Douglas, Nancy Grace and Ronna Johnson as the first Beat novel by a woman. She has also published a work of investigative journalism: What Lisa Knew: The Truths and Lies of the Steinberg Case (Putnam, 1989).

From 1983 through 1997, she taught writing at Columbia University's MFA program. She has also taught at the New School, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, the University of Vermont and New York University., and at the 92nd Street YMHA.

"The Children's Wing," the penultimate chapter of her novel In The Night Cafe (1989), was a first-prize O. Henry Award recipient. In 1992 she received an NEA grant.

The Johnson and Kerouac correspondence, collected in Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 (2000) was followed by another memoir, Missing Men (2004). And in 2012, she published her biography of Kerouac The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. Based on her research in the Kerouac Archive in the Berg Collection, it is the first biography to explore the far-reaching influence that Kerouac's Franco American background had upon his life and work. Johnson also carefully traces the development of Kerouac's unique first person voice from his earliest writings through late 1951, when a series of breakthroughs led to the writing of Visions of Cody, the book he considered his masterpiece. Though some critics have erroneously called this book a memoir, Johnson ends Kerouac's story six years before she met him, and makes only a few relevant references to the relationship they had from January 1957 through October 1958.



  1. ^ See Hettie Jones for example.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Johnson — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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NYSL: Joyce Johnson on "The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac"

http://www.nysoclib.org/notes/2013/voice_all.html The award-winning author of Minor Characters presents a groundbreaking portrait of Kerouac as a young artis...

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52 news items

The Chattanoogan

The Chattanoogan
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:37:30 -0700

He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Joyce Johnson; great aunt, Ana Roberts and great-grandmother, Dorothy Nunley. Jaxson is survived by his loving parents, Josh R. Colbert and Courtney M. Marshall Colbert; big sister, Brianna Colbert; big ...
The Daily Princetonian
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:43:49 -0700

In addition, the owner of the property from which the signs were stolen, Joyce Johnson, said only the signs for Princeton Computer Tutor & Repairs, a local computer company, were taken even though there were other signs on her property, including some ...
Arizona Silver Belt
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:22:30 -0700

He is survived by Kathy (wife); Cliff and Joyce Johnson (parents); his brothers, Lanny Johnson (Meredith) Danny Johnson (Penny), Nick Johnson (Margaret); children, Kim Petty (David) Daleana Cherry (Kevin) Jerry Johnson, and Nancy Vellelos; ...
National Catholic Reporter (blog)
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:18:45 -0700

Underneath her maternal pseudonym, Joyce Johnson Rouse has brought her message of earth literacy to schoolchildren, adults, and social justice, business and religious groups for the past 20 years. Singing, dancing and just plain having fun -- her props ...
The Daily Progress
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:45:00 -0700

“It's a great way for individuals to come out with their families and spend the day doing things in their community, learning about local businesses and having fun,” said Joyce Johnson, president of Sweet Dreams. Grown from a community member's idea ...

Shields Gazette

Shields Gazette
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:00:00 -0700

FUN DAY INVITES ... from left, Lewis Rimington, Joyce Johnson, Andrea Wood, Ann Laws and Karen Pippet. Published on the 24 July 2014 22:00. Published 24/07/2014 22:00. Print this. Sponsored by. Lumley Castle. A DAY of free family fun has been lined ...
Wicked Local Cape Cod
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:36:42 -0700

Although the event was mobilized by Joyce Johnson and Peter Waasdorp of Occupy Falmouth (formed in 2011 during the Occupy Wall Street movement), many of those in attendance had no affiliation with the group. Representatives from the local faith-based ...
Staunton News Leader
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:46:16 -0700

“It is a great way to celebrate the community of Stuarts Draft, but also it's a free event,” says Joyce Johnson, board president of Sweet Dreams at Augusta County Parks and Recreation. “We get this sponsored by a lot of local businesses and that's how ...

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