THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
On The Road is not only one of the celebrated examples of travel writing, Jack Kerouac's novel is also considered a defining work in American literature and an embodiment of the Beat Generation. The book chronicles the rambling road trips of Kerouac (Sal Paradise) and his friends (including the famous poet Allen Ginsburg and Williams S. Burroughs) as they looked for "kicks" and for an understanding of life in post-war 1940s America. Stories of sex, drugs and carelessly abandoned responsibilities provoke strong emotional reactions; some see the book as a simple promotion of immoral behavior or a false promise of some sort of higher level truth that never really materializes. Many critics maligned the book when first published in 1957, but the counter-cultural liberation from materialism inspired generations of disillusioned youth to hit the road. There are some great descriptions of San Francisco and of a trip down through Texas into Mexico. The narrative is written in a unique spontaneous style, influenced by the emergence of jazz and driven by a very personal account of both the emotional highs and occasional despair that comes with a true journey.
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ON THE ROAD - THE ORIGINAL SCROLL
True fans may also want to explore the original uncut scroll, the pure first draft typed in a stream of consciousness as a single spaced paragraph, without breaks or margins, over eight pages of taped together typing paper. The image to the left shows the scroll, exhibited a the Boot Cotton Mills Museum. In this version, the stories are rougher and more sexually explicit, and the characters' names are no longer hidden by pseudonyms. Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, bought the original scroll in 2001 for a whopping $2.4 million.
Photo credit to left: By Maggie (originally posted to Flickr as scroll) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
GREAT QUOTES FROM ON THE ROAD
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
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