On the RoadBook - 2003
September 5th, 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance. Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago. This Penguin Classics edition contains an introduction by Ann Charters.
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From Library Staff
2017 marked the 60th anniversary of this classic novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation. Available in book, e-book, audiobook CD, and e-audiobook formats.
From the critics
SummaryAdd a Summary
Perhaps the most famous chronicle of the road trip genre is Jack Kerouac's enduring classic, ON THE ROAD (New American Library, $3.95). Originally published in 1957, it tosses convention on its ear and through a seemingly endless series of run-on sentences put the Beat Generation firmly on the map. Composed of other disenfranchised souls in search of It, Beats reveled in a freaky booze-addled, drug-induced alt-reality that lent to misfits a sense of belonging, altogether divorced of the post-war apocalyptic military-industrial fever quietly sweeping through "respectable" circles of society.
The story follows Sal Paradise in his pursuit west from New York to Denver, then San Francisco, back the other direction and eventually south to Mexico and back, often in the presence of Dean Moriarty a practically god-like figure in Sal's eyes for his checkered past and bold pursuit of self-gratification. Although Dean comes across as a cool cat, by story's end we realize it's a false persona, a band-aid for the father issues he's plagued with.
Maybe more than any other book in American Literature, ON THE ROAD created a subculture movement by exposing and celebrating it. With Woodstock, sixties counterculture was brought mainstream. Kerouac, with ON THE ROAD, did the same for the Beats.
A decent but not outstanding adaptation of Kerouac's novel. This one always seemed too hard to film, and indeed, the end result isn't the best result, but seeing the characters come off the pages and alive is enjoyable and Viggo Mortensen as William S. Burroughs is a scene stealer.
Kerouac wrote most of his famous book on a scroll through his typewriter so he would keep a continuous train of thought. The resulting manuscript is now available here (though, not in scroll form!) to be read as Kerouac originally wrote it, with the names of his fellow "Beat" friends and authors named. It's an exhaustive read but worth it for the fans.
QuotesAdd a Quote
. . . the junior Moriarty trapped as it were in his father's legacy, [is] pursued by Sal just as his father is pursued by the son, eternally just out of reach.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones 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 roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”
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