VIRTUAL OPEN LECTURE: Kerouac and the Greek Connection

Location: Zoom Webinar, YouTube Live Stream, Facebook Live Stream

Date: THURSDAY – 10 Sep. 2020 @ 7:00pm

Presenters: George Mouratidis

Language of Presentation: English | R.M.L.G.*: 0 – No knowledge of Greek required.

Entry: FREE


While the “road” novels of Jack Kerouac get the lion’s share of critical and popular attention and, like the author himself, serve as iconic touchstones of the peripatetic mythos associated with the Beat Generation writers and postwar American counterculture, this lecture examines Kerouac through the lens of diaspora – as a writer whose vision of America, at once romantic and melancholy, was that of an outsider, looking in. Kerouac’s sense of “home” – growing up in the working-class French-Canadian and Greek migrant community of Lowell, Massachusetts – for him served as a key counterpoint to the open road and urban bohemias for which he is most celebrated. This perpetual dialogue between “Loswell” and “the road” established the  fundamental dualism and ambivalence that informed and shaped the Kerouac’s self-identity, language, and his art – a conflict that ism, of course, at the heart of the migrant experience. By focusing on the impact of Lowell’s Greek community on Kerouac’s life and literature, particularly his close association with the Sampas family, this lecture seeks to complicate the “King of the Beats”, and by so doing, reveal the richness and nuance of “Beat” writing and culture in general.


George Mouratidis is a Greek-born poet, translator and researcher. He has taught cultural studies at RMIT University and American literature at The University of Melbourne, where he co-founded the Living Poetry Sessions with writer-poet Lucy Van and is completing his doctorate on the politics and poetics of the Beat Generation. He was a contributing editor of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road: The Original Scroll and is the translator of Noted Transparencies (Owl, 2016) by Greek-language poet Nikos Nomikos, with whom he continues to work closely. His debut poetry collection, Angel Frankenstein (Soul Bay Press, 2018) was published last year.

How To Participate

In order to keep everyone safe we have organized this seminar to be delivered online.
However, we are well aware that for some, a large part of the appeal of our seminars is the very active audience participation. Therefore we are providing two ways for you to enjoy the seminar:
If you want to actively participate and ask questions at the end of the seminar you will need to join us through a Zoom Webinar – for which you’ll need to pre-register by following this link:

If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the show, just join us through our Facebook page or our YouTube page where we’ll be live streaming the event.


We thank the following donor for making this seminar possible: Anastasia Sougleris.

During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice.

You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne. Please email: or call 03 9662 2722.

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