Upper school English teacher delivers lecture for Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival

Upper+school+English+teacher+Charles+Shuttleworth+poses+with+%22Desolate+Angel%2C%22+a+biography+of+Jack+Kerouac.+Shuttleworth%2C+who+was+chosen+as+the+annual+Moses+Greeley+Parker+lecturer%2C+presented+his+research+on+American+novelist+Kerouac+in+a+virtual+lecture+titled+%E2%80%9CKerouac%3A+The+Buddhist+Years.%E2%80%9D%0A

Provided by Charles Shuttleworth

Upper school English teacher Charles Shuttleworth poses with “Desolate Angel,” a biography of Jack Kerouac. Shuttleworth, who was chosen as the annual Moses Greeley Parker lecturer, presented his research on American novelist Kerouac in a virtual lecture titled “Kerouac: The Buddhist Years.”

by Lucy Ge and Sarah Mohammed

Hands clasped together, leaning on a wooden podium in his classroom, upper school English teacher Charles Shuttleworth, who was chosen as the annual Moses Greeley Parker lecturer, presents his research on American novelist Kerouac in a virtual lecture titled “Kerouac: The Buddhist Years.”

Since being granted access to The Jack Kerouac Archive in the New York Public Library three years ago, Shuttleworth has transcribed 230 pages of Kerouac’s unpublished writings, previously traveling back and forth from New York with a Harker grant. 

“Because I’m focusing on a narrow period, I’m just able to uncover some really specific and very exciting new information about Kerouac, and I think it ultimately illuminates his craft and his artistry,” Shuttleworth said. 

As he detailed in the lecture, which was available to watch on the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac website from Oct. 8 to Oct. 12, Shuttleworth has been teaching “English 4: Jack Kerouac and the Beat” at Harker for six years, a class that involves field trips to San Francisco and Mill Valley. Past and current students of this course, along with a few teachers, read excerpts of Kerouac’s unpublished works in the lecture.

Andrew Rule (‘17), a past student of Shuttleworth’s who took the Kerouac elective and read in the lecture, found the video’s focus on one specific part of Kerouac’s life informative and enjoyed seeing his and his former classmates’ clips featured in the lecture. 

“It was fun to think back on that class and those field trips and realize that [class] was actually a really unusual and special opportunity,” he said. “It was very cool to see Mr. Shuttleworth, who I’ve only ever known in a Harker context, as a scholar, which isn’t a chance that we get very often with our high school teachers.”

Multimedia specialist Eric Marten from the Harker Office of Communications, Dawson Chen (11) and Alexander Lan (11) assisted Shuttleworth with the editing of the video. For Shuttleworth, his favorite part of the end product was seeing the video clips sent in by students and teachers.

“They took the time to understand what they were saying and to deliver the material in a way that really reflected the emotion of what Kerouac was saying,” he said. “It was really rewarding to see that.”

Additional reporting by Isha Moorjani and Emily Tan.