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On the Road [Paperback]

Jack Kerouac
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (493 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

From Publishers Weekly

In introducing the fabled first draft of Kerouac's autobiographical novel-written on a single giant roll of paper, without breaks in the text, in an amphetamine-fueled marathon-editor Howard Cunnell refers to Allen Ginsberg's claim that "the published novel is not at all like the wild book Kerouac typed in '51." Characters are identified by their real names (rather than the 1957 version's apt pseudonyms) and their love affairs are more explicit, giving the book a juicy memoir-like feel, especially where Cassady and Ginsberg are concerned. The plot, however, is identical. Neal Cassady joins Kerouac and Ginsberg's bohemian circle in New York in the late 1940's, and inspires and cons them into traveling around the country, "searching for a lost inheritance, for fathers, for family, for home, even for America." The death of Kerouac's father plays a larger role in the story than in the 1957 version; and Justin W. Brierly, a teacher who served as mentor to Cassady and has a cameo in the published book, makes a series of recurring appearances in the scroll. The lack of paragraphs or chapters emphasizes the breathless intensity of Kerouac's prose. The anniversary publicity will introduce this classic to a new generation of readers, and while the scroll probably won't displace the novel's more familiar, polished incarnation, it will be of keen interest to beat aficionados and scholars.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Though Kerouac's masterpiece is not out of print and likely never will be (it still enjoys more than 60,000 sales annually), Viking is releasing a quality hardcover edition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its original publication. Undoubtedly one of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, this is the book that launched the Beat Generation and remains the bible of that literary movement. On the Road's publication in 1957 was a wake-up call to the American public that not all its youth were modeled after characters on Ozzie and Harriet: it portrayed Ivy League-educated white kids who smoked dope, hitchhiked, and frequented black jazz joints and Mexican whorehouses. It was the harbinger of the radical changes that would soon sweep society in the 1960s. In addition to the full text, this version includes the New York Times's original book review. A pillar of American literature.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The mythology surrounding On the Road begins with a tantalizing creation story: in a 20-day marathon in April 1951, Kerouac speed-typed the single-spaced manuscript on long sheets of tracing paper he taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. Truly a remarkable feat, although Kerouac, who was not exactly the wild man his image as king of the Beats suggests, had already spent years working on what ultimately became On the Road. The legendary scroll, purchased by Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, for $2.43 million, is currently being exhibited across the country. To celebrate the novel's fiftieth anniversary, the scroll has finally been fully transcribed and thoroughly explicated in four superb introductory essays. Given that the manuscript diverges from the book in the very first sentence, and that Kerouac used the real names of the friends who inspired his characters and wrote unused sexually explicit passages, this is an intriguing read to say the least. Seaman, Donna --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

? A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.??Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

From AudioFile

The classic memoir of the Beat Generation chronicles Kerouac's years traveling the country in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Hitchhiking, jumping trains, riding buses, and picking up friends along the way, the author roams from one end of the United States to the other. Matt Dillon captures the disconnectedness of Kerouac's life on the road, at times punctuating each word, at others mumbling through entire paragraphs. Dillon's portrayal of Dean Moriarty creates a living person: annoying, complex, and full of self-serving malarkey. Others moving in and out of Kerouac's life receive thoughtful attention, whether they're Latino lovers or redneck policemen. Dillon's performance brings a refreshing interpretation to a classic, all the more remarkable given his distance in years from the culture Baby Boomers remember. R.P.L. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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