Kerouac has already passed into legend, but the legend grows dimmer with each "new" book. Allen Ginsberg, his much more public-minded friend, continues as press agent, ("a long page of oceanic Kerouac is sometimes as sublime as epic line...the best poet in the United States is Kerouac still"), yet the pronouncements sound like singing telegrams and not even the teenyboppers pay them much attention. Vanity of Duluoz is Kerouac's twelfth novel, hardly very much different or better than the other eleven, radiant with the same spontaneous "word slinging," the same apostrophes to the whole mad bad wonderful world, at moments remarkably vivid, eager, and funny, but more often just tiresome, burpy, and quaint. Time has not dealt fondly with the Kerouac style: it's almost as dated as Saroyan's. Kerouac, the innocent of the Fifties; Saroyan, the innocent of the Thirties. For the record, the celebration here is of service with the Merchant Kerouac's years as a Columbia undergraduate, and his involvement with another of Marine and the Navy during WWII, those beautiful young men who so often appear in his tales. This section, the longest and best, includes thinly disguised glimpses of Burroughs, drugs, Kerouac's first marriage, homosexuality, and murder--but all done with such boyish elan and roughhouse "truth" that it seems an engaging Beat fantasia which might even appeal to the lady in Dubuque.