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On the Road by Jack Kerouac
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On the Road (original 1957; edition 1976)

by Jack Kerouac

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21,53529461 (3.68)839
Member:ITersy
Title:On the Road
Authors:Jack Kerouac
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1976), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)

  1. 112
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (MyriadBooks)
  2. 72
    On the Road The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: 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)
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  4. 52
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (hippietrail)
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac (soulster)
  7. 10
    Cigarett : roman by Per Hagman (Sawengo)
  8. 10
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  9. 10
    Théorie du voyage : Poétique de la géographie by Michel Onfray (askthedust)
  10. 21
    The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (hippietrail)
  11. 10
    Tredje stenen från solen : roman by Claes Holmström (Sawengo)
  12. 00
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  13. 00
    Big Sur by Jack Kerouac (John_Vaughan)
  14. 00
    One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road by Gerald Nicosia (mrkay)
  15. 12
    Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (caflores)
    caflores: Gente que busca y no sabe qué.
  16. 13
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  17. 010
    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"
1950s (10)
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1960s (170)
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» See also 839 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)
This hits so many book lists that I figured I would eventual get around to it. So now I am done and I think: meh.

But let me say, I respect Kerouac's writing style. After copiously planning out his story, he sat down and wrote this novel in 22 days on a 120 foot roll of typing paper. The result is a stream of consciousness/conversational style.

Likewise, since most of the novel is Dean and Sal's travels across country hitchhiking or driving, there is some great descriptions. This is nostalgic Americana, some of it quite beautiful.

So why "meh?" Because I don't like the protagonist and Dean the other character. These are men who use women, drink too much, use too many drugs, and take advantage of anyone they can in their own narcissistic quest for God knows what. The one redeeming feature of Sal, is he does seem self aware of how awful this is.

This is Kerouac's most famous novel and it is highly autobiographical. It is a picture of the angst and unsettledness of those who returned from World War II and tried to fit in society. This was the soil where 'Beat culture' grew. But these proto-hippies were not challenging social institutions, or following their conscience. They simply did what they wanted. This is hyper-individualism and it is pretty ugly.

Still, well written. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Over-rated ramblings of self-puffery and female objectification. ( )
  fueledbycoffee | May 2, 2017 |
I went in expecting not to like this. My cursory knowledge of the beat generation icons led me to believe they were all pretentious assholes, which definitely seems to be true. What I forgot is that a pretentious asshole can still write a decent book, and that a book doesn't have to be about good or likable people to be engrossing.

Kerouac paints a vivid picture of an America so far removed from me in time that it might as well be a different country. The book is somewhat worth reading for that alone. Beyond that, though, is a remarkably compelling first-person narrator. There's just something about the voice of it that draws you in. A madness, if you will. A lust for life, an insane hedonism, a massively conflated sense of self-importance.

Speaking of madness, Kerouac, apparently, wrote this on a single sheet of paper (he taped them together so he wouldn't have to stop typing) over three weeks while being kept up by coffee, cigarettes, and drugs. He cut and added things here and there after that, but essentially we're reading the result of a three-week outpouring of work based on the extensive notes he took during the journey. It shows. The writing is still rough. Sentences go on for too long and obviously should have been cut into two distinct sentences. Existential tangents blindside you constantly. A lack of focus permeates the whole thing. On the whole I don't mean any of it in a bad way, necessarily. It is, I think, an intrinsic part of the appeal. If this same book had been written in a more "put together" way, I would count it as an overall loss. It's raw, ephemeral, like it came from some otherworldly force instead of human hands. It definitely fits his character, at the very least.

Still, there are major problems. Mostly in pacing and any sort of consistent quality. The beginning and end of the book contains solid four star material, and there are similar gems lurking in the middle as well--but there are also some long bits that are two stars at best. I feel like 3/5 is a fair average of my experience, but it was by no means consistently that good the entire way through. Just keep that in mind. You will hit parts that drag and they drag hard. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
On the Road reminded me of the Motorcycle Diaries where Ernesto Guevara with his friend Alberto Granado went for a journey just for fun. They were also the type of people that go with the flow like Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. And they’re almost the same with chasing girls and fooling around with other people.

The difference was that Che sought for revolution. I think that was missing in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. It was a good book but I wanted it to be more inspiring and to have more sense. I mean they were jerking around and they know it but they still do it. I just don’t like the fact that they live an easy life where they don’t commit and man up to take the responsibilities and consequences they afflicted.

On the other hand, this book took me to different places I’ve never been to and I met so many people I won’t ever meet in real life. Also, I wonder what happened to Dean after they went to their separated lives. Well, Sal is Jack Kerouac, he based it on real life. I think they really had a great adventure.

P.S. I read this book while I was traveling every one hour and a half to my first job and sometimes another one hour and a half back (I don't usually read when I'm tired) till I finished it. Basically, I read this book on the road :) ( )
  phoibee | Apr 23, 2017 |
about halfway thru and im just plain ole tired of makin myself pick this up...I do find Sal Paradise a very likeable character and how could you not like somebody named Dean Moriarty...anyway, im just gonna watch the movie this winter to find out how it ends. ( )
  liv_books | Apr 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)
El Sal Paradise de todas las ediciones conocidas de esta novela mítica es aquí, al fin, Kerouac. Y también Cassady, Ginsberg y Burroughs aparecen con sus verdaderos nombres. Con la publicación del rollo original, la gesta viajera y existencial de En la carretera se vuelve autobiográfica de pleno derecho y a plena luz del día, sin censura alguna. Y el relato adquiere toda su potencia narrativa. El lector tiene en sus manos una suerte de manifiesto de la beat generation. Seguimos a Kerouac y a toda la cáfila que desfila por estas páginas en toda su desnudez y penuria. Precursores del movimiento hippy y la contracultura de finales de los años sesenta, los personajes de esta novela pululan sin rumbo por Norteamérica. La sed vital insatisfecha, la búsqueda de horizontes de sentido, de dicha y de conocimiento y los atisbos místicos se estrellan contra una realidad inhóspita y desesperanzada. Un vívido compendio de los grandes temas, y al tiempo una apasionante aventura humana y una metáfora de la existencia. «El rollo original de On the Road es una de las más veneradas y enigmáticas reliquias de la literatura moderna... Un texto fascinante» (James Campbell, The Times Literary Supplement).
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 
With his barbaric yawp of a book. Kerouac commands attention as a kind of literary James Dean.
 

» Add other authors (85 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kerouac, Jackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Charters, AnnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmes, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pivano, FernandaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauter, PeeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandenbergh, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.
Quotations
". . . 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.
Great beautiful clouds floated overhead, valley clouds that made you feel the vastness of old tumbledown holy America from mouth to mouth and tip to tip.
'You have absolutely no regard for anybody but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what's hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just throw them aside. Not only that but you're silly about it. It never occurs to you that life is serious and there are people trying to make something decent out of it instead of just goofing all the time.'
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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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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Sal Paradise, un giovane newyorkese con ambizioni letterarie, incontra Dean Moriarty, un ragazzo dell'Ovest. Uscito dal riformatorio, Dean comincia a girovagare sfidando le regole della vita borghese, sempre alla ricerca di esperienze intense. Dean decide di ripartire per l'Ovest e Sal lo raggiunge; è il primo di una serie di viaggi che imprimono una dimensione nuova alla vita di Sal. La fuga continua di Dean ha in sé una caratteristica eroica, Sal non può fare a meno di ammirarlo, anche quando febbricitante, a Città del Messico, viene abbandonato dall'amico, che torna negli Stati Uniti.
(piopas)
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:31 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182679, 0140265007, 0141037482, 0241951534, 0141198206

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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