Maher, Paul, Jr. 1963–
Maher, Paul, Jr. 1963–
Born 1963. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.A.; holds an M.A.
Scholar, writer, and photographer. Has worked as a high school English teacher and as the editor of Kerouac Quarterly.
Kerouac: The Definitive Biography, Taylor Trade/National Book Network (Lanham, MD), 2004.
Jack Kerouac's American Journey: The Real-life Odyssey of On the Road, Da Capo Press, 2007.
(Editor, with Michael K. Dorr) Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis, Chicago Review Press (Chicago, IL), 2008.
Also author of Kerouac: His Life and Work.
Literary scholar and historian Paul Maher, Jr., was born in 1963. He earned his B.A. in American studies from the University of Massachusetts and he also holds an M.A. in English and education. Maher is a scholar, writer, and photographer. His photography is specifically focused on the flora, fauna, and wildlife of New England. Maher's writing, however, is his main area of concentration. A biography of Maher posted on his home page stated that, as of 2008, his research was focused on Herman Melville's Moby Dick and on the Aboriginal writings set down by Henry David Thoreau. Maher has also acted as coeditor, with Michael K. Dorr, of Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis. The remainder of Maher's publications, which are solely authored or edited, all focus on Jack Kerouac. Maher is the author of Kerouac: The Definitive Biography, Jack Kerouac's American Journey: The Real-life Odyssey of On the Road, and Kerouac: His Life and Work. Maher is also the editor of Empty Phantoms: Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac. In addition, Maher once worked as the editor of the Kerouac Quarterly.
Jack Kerouac's American Journey was published near the fiftieth anniversary of Kerouac's most famous novel, On the Road. In a Booklist review of the book, Donna Seaman noted that it "precisely maps the real-life journeys that shaped the novel's odysseys." Maher discusses which of Kerouac's friends correspond to the characters in On the Road, and he shows how Kerouac attempted to model his writing on the work of authors he greatly admired—Fyodor Dostoevsky, Virginia Woolf, and Walt Whitman, to name a few. In Kerouac: The Definitive Biography, Maher gives a glowing overview of Kerouac and his work, discussing Kerouac's groundbreaking and unique writing style. Maher then attempts to draw autobiographical insights from Kerouac's writings, and he states that the author's racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic statements stemmed from his alcoholism. Maher additionally tries to dispel and discredit rumors that Kerouac had homosexual experiences, taking issue with other biographers who have indicated this to be the case.
Maher's biography was one of the first based on the Kerouac archives at the New York Public Library, which were not available until recently. The archives illuminate much of Kerouac's early childhood. According to Eric C. Shoaf, writing in the Library Journal, Maher's biography of Kerouac "sheds new light on a writer of considerable interest."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2007, Donna Seaman, "Fifty Years on the Road," p. 25.
Library Journal, June 1, 2004, Eric C. Shoaf, review of Kerouac: The Definitive Biography, p. 134.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 2004, review of Kerouac, p. 46.
Paul Maher, Jr., Home Page, http://www.paulmaher.org (June 13, 2008).