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On the Road - Jack Kerouac

On the Road

By: Jack Kerouac, Ann Charters (Introduction by)

Paperback

Published: June 2000
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On the Road swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat. Now recognised as a modern classic, its American Dream is nearer that of Walt Whitman than F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it goes racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion.

'A paean to what Kerouac described as "the ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being".' Sunday Times

A memorable and influential rather than a great book. But teenagers love this novel of long roads, big cars, free jazz and loose women without reservation. Kerouac wrote the book in 12 days of 'continuous bop prosody' on an unbroken roll of wrapping paper - for writers, fame might be just a fortnight away. Sadly much of Kerouac's other work seems dated and simple-minded but On the Road is still of tremendous human and historical interest. (Kirkus UK)

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where, he said, he 'roamed fields and riverbanks by day and night, wrote little novels in my room, first novel written at age eleven, also kept extensive diaries and "newspapers" covering my own-invented horse-racing and baseball and football worlds' (as recorded in the novel Doctor Sax). He was educated by Jesuit brothers in Lowell. He said that he 'decided to become a writer at age seventeen under influence of Sebastian Sampas, local young poet, who later died on Anzio beach head; read the life of Jack London at eighteen and decided to also be a lonesome traveler; early literary influences Saroyan and Hemingway; later Wolfe (after I had broken leg in Freshman football at Columbia read Tom Wolfe and roamed his New York on crutches).'

Kerouac wished, however, to develop his own new prose style, which he called 'spontaneous prose.' He used this technique to record the life of the American 'traveler' and the experiences of the Beat generation of the 1950s. This may clearly be seen in his most famous novel On the Road, and also in The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums. His first more orthodox published novel was The Town and the City. Jack Kerouac, who described himself as a 'strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic,' was working on his longest novel, a surrealistic study of the last ten years of his life when he died in 1969, aged forty-seven.

Other works by Jack Kerouac include Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Gerard, Tristessa, and a book of poetry called Mexico City Blues. On the Road: The Original Scroll, the full uncensored transcription of the original manuscript of On the Road, is published by Penguin Modern Classics.

Visit Jack Kerouac's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780141182674
ISBN-10: 0141182679
Series: Penguin Classics Ser.
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: June 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.0  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.22
Edition Number: 1