In its time Jack Kerouac's masterpiece was the bible of the Beat Generation, the essential prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg's Howl
. While it stunned the public and literary establishment when it was published in 1957, it is now recognized as an American classic. With On the Road
, Kerouac discovered his voice and his true subject—the search for a place as an outsider in America.
On the Road swings to the rhythms of fifties underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns, and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveler and mystic, the living epitome of Beat.
"Life is great, and few can put the zest and wonder and sadness and humor of it on paper more interestingly than Kerouac."
—Luther Nichols, San Francisco Examiner
"Just as, more than any other novel of the Twenties, The Sun Also Rises came to be regarded as the testament of the Lost Generation, so it seems certain that On the Road will come to be known as that of the Beat Generation."
—Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times