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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 United States
Notable works 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.

719 news items

Washington Times
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 20:56:15 -0700

Joyce Johnson, Rock Steady's executive director, said she thinks the research will change the way the medical community thinks about exercise for people with Parkinson's. Even now, over the nine years Rock Steady Boxing has been around, neurologists ...


Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:07:30 -0700

It's also probably one the most original and daring work about the Beat Generation since Joyce Johnson, a novelist, biographer and onetime lover of Jack Kerouac, published “Minor Characters” in 1983. Like Johnson, Schneider gets to the heart of the ...
Cleveland Daily Banner
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 19:15:00 -0700

Presenting a picture representing the American flag, which has been donated to Bachman Academy are, from left, Rebecca Snider, Christine Miller, Ann Cadle, director of Development at Bachman Academy, Joyce Johnson, Norm Shock, John Eads and WW ...
KSST (press release) (registration) (blog)
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:48:45 -0700

... death by her parents; husband; one son, Gary Causey; five brothers, Noble Johnson, Claude Johnson, Alvie Johnson, Marlin Johnson and Coris Johnson; six sisters, Murriel Hunt, Velma Holt, Blanch Johnson, Zella Sanders, Joyce Johnson and Gay Jones.

Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis Star
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:58:18 -0700

The first time Joyce Johnson called me, I scolded her. Because you should have called me earlier, I was telling the executive director of Rock Steady Boxing. How did I not know this story already? How does the world not know what is happening here in ...

Wicked Local Provincetown

Wicked Local Provincetown
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:07:48 -0700

There has already been a tremendous outpouring of generosity from many artists, including Fran Forman, Mike Glier, Bonney Goldstein, Bernd Haussmann, Brenda Horowitz, the Joyce Johnson estate, Ken Kewley, Sarah Lutz, Dana Pasila, Mischa Richter ...

Staunton News Leader

Staunton News Leader
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:52:30 -0700

STUARTS DRAFT — Armed with a paintbrush, Brooke Matthews, 5, slapped a hot pink streak of paint across the fender of a white van as her mother stood back admiring her work. Nearly every inch of the vehicle was covered in a washable paint, but a ...

RhinoTimes.com Greensboro

RhinoTimes.com Greensboro
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 23:00:00 -0700

Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice represented the six citizens who, along with the city, were suing: Nelson and Joyce Johnson, Lewis Brandon, Alan Koritz and Sandra Koritz and Charli Mae Sykes. Earls argued that the districts ...

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