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On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road (1957)

by Jack Kerouac

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,67123982 (3.68)769
  1. 111
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (MyriadBooks)
  2. 73
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (thiagobomfim)
  3. 52
    On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Jack Kerouac (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: If you still have the choice, do not pick up the originally-published edition and instead go for the Original Scroll. This should be on its way to replacing just plain ol' On the Road as the primo Kerouac (and even Beat) text for the adventurous romantics to become enamored with. More rhythm, more life, more of that depressing truth that filled Kerouac's subsequent work. It's a much stronger book.… (more)
  4. 30
    Off the Road: My Years With Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg by Carolyn Cassady (Jannes)
    Jannes: Interesting behind-the-scenes look, and also something of an counterpoint to the tendency of over-romanticizing Jack and the gang that we, or at least I, are sometimes guiltily of. If you're a Beat-geek you can't really ignore this one.
  5. 52
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (hippietrail)
  6. 20
    The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac (soulster)
  7. 10
    Cigarett : roman by Per Hagman (Sawengo)
  8. 10
    Tredje stenen från solen : roman by Claes Holmström (Sawengo)
  9. 10
    Théorie du voyage : Poétique de la géographie by Michel Onfray (askthedust)
  10. 21
    The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (hippietrail)
  11. 00
    Working the Aisles: A Life in Consumption by Robert Appelbaum (Anonymous user)
  12. 00
    Big Sur by Jack Kerouac (John_Vaughan)
  13. 00
    One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road by Gerald Nicosia (mrkay)
  14. 12
    Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (caflores)
    caflores: Gente que busca y no sabe qué.
  15. 13
    The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (hippietrail)
  16. 02
    Looking for Redfeather by Linda Collison (Linda.Collison)
    Linda.Collison: Looking for Redfeather was inspired in part, by Jack Kerouac's iconic story and is a 21st century homage to the novel. Kerouac's characters are older and less directed in their wanderings than the teens in Looking for Redfeather, who come of age on the road, yet they share the same restlessness and desire for life.… (more)
  17. 011
    Ye Ole Fiendly Towne and Other Whittier Zombie Haikus: Whittier is suddenly scoured with zombies! And just where is Doobie McDonald during these mayhaps...BAY-beh!? by Doobie McDonald (privycouncilpress)
    privycouncilpress: A road trip film symbolizing the mindtrip your soul will have while reading 'Ye Ole Fiendly Towne and Other Whittier Zombie Haikus"

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English (217)  French (5)  Italian (4)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
Kerouac kuvaa kirjassa 1950-luvun sukupolvea, joka oli valmis hylkäämään yhteiskunnan normit ja hyväksytyt pelisäännöt. Teoksesta välittyy viisikymmenluvun nuorten levottomuus ja kokemisen halu niin hurjien liftaustarinoiden ja päihteiden käytön kautta. ( )
  aakaroliina | Dec 8, 2014 |
Okay, so imagine you're reading a book, a classic. And you're liking the story and really enjoying the writing, the voice of the author is really speaking right to you. So far, so good. Well worth the read. Then WHAM, out of nowhere the author mentions a town that you know really well, having lived there for five years. Then BAM, next thing you know he's describing the very street where you used to live. There it is, right on page 166. Whoa. Did the world just move a little bit? Mine did.

If you react like me, you get over your surprise and find yourself really engaged with a rollicking good tale about life, the road, life on and off the road, and a thousand and one other little details that make for a great, great story.

Very well written, some of the sentences stopped me in my tracks. And while I enjoyed the "traveling" parts of the story more than the "stopping" parts, I wouldn't have missed any of the journey. ( )
  5hrdrive | Nov 28, 2014 |
  ngunity | Nov 23, 2014 |
Very good introduction to this edition. A novel far better written than one would expect, I’m probably the last person of my generation to read this in a serious fashion. I’m glad to have finally read this and equally glad to have finished it. On the Road, is a fictional book about Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty who travel crisscrossing the continental United States. They go to New York, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico City, and Chicago. Sal falls in love with a Mexican woman, Terri, from the California San Joaquin Valley, but abandons his plans due to her having a child and an ex who never absented himself from her family.
The narrative takes place during the immediate Post War years. Sal never says what he did during the War (other than mentioning the sea) but he is writing a book and studying on the G.I. Bill. For Sal to strike up such a sycophantic relationship to Dean makes his military service questionable. Sal tries to write lyrically of their morally debauched adventures. Kerouac was at his best trying to capture a scene with a sentence or paragraph. He was successful more times than one would envision. It is too bad this book with its elements of racism, rampant misogyny, drug use, alcoholism, grand theft, and sexual license will not let those components survive. Dean Moriarty has textbook symptoms of bipolar personality disorder and attention deficit disorder. Sal in looking at his Nietzsche-Buddhist influenced Dean sees only a saintly W.C. Fields. Actually, the story unfolds like a Johnson enraptured Boswell with Sal being Boswell the chronicler. On the Road has less at stake than The Life of Johnson.
The novel itself is very disturbing and I am surprised it wasn’t banned after being published.
Sal and Dean are not part of a universally applicable morality tale but a statement of a philosophical system slowly working itself out. Sal is on a road trip vision quest. In the end, Dean is not, and was never, worth the estimation given to him. Sal does assimilate Dean’s metaphysics for his own religion. Accepting Fate and living in the moment is all that matters. Sal did take a road trip from LA to South Bend and back without eating to watch a Norte Dame vs Cal football game. Other than passing the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico, that Indiana trip might have been the closest Sal got to God’s presence in “the Now.” ( )
1 vote sacredheart25 | Nov 18, 2014 |
I'm always amazed by what other people think of as a 'classic'. Even the little blurb on the back of the book claims this book changes the lives of those who read it.... Wow. Really? I suppose it was great, for a certain group of readers, back in the 50's and 60's. I'm just not impressed with the tales of this guy and his friend traveling back and forth across the country, just for the fun of it. Makes no sense to me. And the writing itself (which I'm always critical of, you know) was just mediocre--not horrible, but not very good, either.

Well, at least I can say I've read it. ( )
  trayceetee | Nov 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
With his barbaric yawp of a book. Kerouac commands attention as a kind of literary James Dean.
added by Shortride | editTime (Sep 16, 1957)

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerouac, Jackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bueno, EduardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carradine, DavidReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charters, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jääskeläinen, MarkusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pivano, FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauter, PeeterTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.
". . . and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because 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 and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
In the window I smelled all the food of San Francisco.   There were seafood places out there where the buns were hot, and the baskets were good enough to eat too; where the menus themselves were soft with foody esculence as though dipped in hot broths roasted dry and good enough to eat too.  Just show me the bluefish spangle on a seafood menu, and I'd eat it; let me smell the butter and lobster claws.  There were places where hamburgers sizzled on grills and the coffee was only a nickel.  And oh, that pan fried chow mein flavored air that blew into my room from Chinatown, vying with the spaghetti sauces of North Beach, the soft-shell crab of Fisherman's Wharf- nay, the ribs of Fillmore turning on spits! Throw in the Market street chili beans, red-hot, and french-fried potatoes of the Embarcadero wino night, and steamed clams from Sausalito across the bay, and that's ah-dream of San Francisco.  Add fog, hunger making, raw fog, and the throb of neons in the soft night, the clack of high heeled beauties, white doves in a Chinese grocery window.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine with On the Road: The Original Scroll
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Book description
A penniless writer named Sal Paradise becomes inspired to hitchhike across America, taking the listener on a freewheeling journey through the 1950s youth counterculture. Joining up with other fellow vagabonds who are in love with life and open to adventure, they explore jazz, sex, drugs, and mysticism on the fringes of society.

Credited as the book that launched Jack Kerouac's career, On the Road epitomized to the world the generation that Kerouac himself named as "beat." It created a sensation by chronicling a spontaneous and wandering way of life in a style that seemed founded both on jazz and on drug-induced visions.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140283293, Paperback)

The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it

Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.

It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.

Celebrating 50 Years of On the Road A 50th anniversary hardcover edition of Kerouac's classic novel that defined a generation. On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up. Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think): John Leland, author of Hip: A History argues that On the Road still matters not for its youthful rebellion but because it is full of lessons about how to grow up.

From the back cover of On the Road: The Original Scroll: Jack Kerouac displaying one of his later scroll manuscripts, most likely The Dharma Bums
Kerouac's map of his first hitchhiking trip, July-October 1947 (click image to see the full map)

Original New York Times review of On the Road (click image to see the full review)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:48 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Story of two restless young men in the late 1940s who cross and recross America, encountering parties, girls, drugs, loneliness and their own dreams along the way.

» see all 22 descriptions

Legacy Library: Jack Kerouac

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5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182679, 0140265007, 0141037482, 0241951534, 0141198206

The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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