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On the Road (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0142437254 ISBN-10: 0142437255

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437254
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Kerouac get the whole beautiful, groovy deal with this new recording of the radically hip novel that many consider the heart of the Beat movement. Poetic, open and raw, Kerouac's prose lays out a cross-country adventure as experienced by Sal Paradise, an autobiographical character. A writer holed up in a room at his aunt's house, Paradise gets inspired by Dean Moriarty (a character based on Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady) to hit the road and see America. From the moment he gets on the seven train out of New York City, he takes the reader through the highs and lows of hitchhiking, bonding with fellow explorers and opting for beer before food. First published in 1957, Kerouac's perennially hot story continues to express the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. The tale is only improved by Dillon's well-paced, articulate reading as he voices the flow of images and graveled reality of Paradise's search for the edge.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It seems each time I read this book, it only get's better!
sadie@capital.net
I don't understand why this book is a "classic" I am surprised that anyone likes the thing at all, this is probably the hardest book I have ever tried to get through.
rayndrops
Kerouac's writing style is great and original and cannot be matched.
Anders Moe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 90 people found the following review helpful By John Woods on August 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somehow I imagined the scroll to be an incomprehensible mess that editors had to sift through in order to create something that could be published as a novel. I was very far from the truth.

The Original Scroll is an example of excellent writing. Yes, it's missing paragraphs, but the style is sharp like a knife's edge. Kerouac's text has power to concentrate reader's imagination and then send it flying into a thousand of directions at once.

I think I actually prefer the scroll to the classic editions of On the Road. The scroll feels very real and easy to understand.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Joshua G. Feldman on August 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
On the Road - the original road trip. The book that took the Beat movement mainstream and fused literature and the youth culture inextricably in the 50s and 60s - presented here as the legendary scroll manuscript Kerouac initially produced. It's readable and electric. The act of reading this familiar and envigorating story anew makes it fresh again. The differences are small (in the scroll Kerouac uses real names instead of of the pseudonyms used in the published novel; the scroll is sexier and feels a bit edgier and more breathless) - but enough to make me experience it in a raw new way. Kerouac's quest for Cassady is a story that puts me in touch with what life's all about: freedom, friendship, creativity, partying, love - and the wanderlust questing nature of the human soul. It's never been more needed - or more pertinent.

This is a great way to reconnect with this great classic. If you've never read it, I wouldn't hesitate to read this over the published one. This version makes it easier to reconnect the novel's/memoir's action with history. Highly recommended
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146 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence D. Zeilinger on August 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" is commemorated by the release of three major volumes. They are a designated 50th Anniversary edition; "On The Road: The Original Scroll", the long-awaited controversial release of the uncensored 120-foot alleged "teletype roll" on which Kerouac blazingly blasted out his masterwork in just three weeks, six years before its publication; and a handsome Library of America edition, "Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957-1960", edited with textual notes by historian Douglas Brinkley, featuring Road and four other of his best known novels along with selections from his journals. (See separate review).
Whether this literary blitz will lead to a grand revival of interest in Kerouac's work by both old and new generations has yet to be seen. But it secures his reputation as a major American writer because his voice resonates with the great poignant prose of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and John Steinbeck, celebrating the wonders and adventures of youthful travels on the open road. In the book's first major favorable review, Gilbert Millstein of The New York Times praised "On The Road" as being to the Beat Generation what Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" was to its precedent bohemian Lost Generation.
Millions of readers and generations of authors have been influenced by the "On The Road", typically discovered by readers in their adolescence. Almost everyone who has read the book remembers when and where they first encountered it, the way one indelibly recalls the loss of virginity.
Praise for Kerouac's work is far from universal.
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177 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Vincent D. Pisano on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
On the Road, Jack Kerouac's epic of road travel and search for meaning in the late 1940s, was written in three weeks time, typed on a long scroll, which was really several pieces of paper taped together. Kerouac's writing has a stream of conscious, spastic nature, although it went through many years of revisions before being published. The story fictionally recounts true events in the writer's life, particularly those with Neal Cassidy (Dean Moriarty in the book), whom Sal, the Kerouac character, seems to have had an infatuated crush on. From New York to California and Mexico Sal drives, or rather rides, and comes across various characters and cities. The novel helped to launch the Beat movement and has influenced countless writers, artists, and readers alike, and has been deemed one of the best novels of 20th-century American literature. Significantly, it made America a literary subject.

I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I was prepared to be blown away and taken on a literary adventure of meaning and wonder, excitement and energy. I read, and waited, to no avail. I read some more, but it soon became apparent that this would not be the book for me. Despite this, I grudgingly soldiered on and completed it a few days later than I had anticipated to (I usually breeze through fiction without struggle), as I continuously put it back on my shelf only to talk myself into trying again. I'm glad I did, but found that the book's legend is far more interesting than the actually story.

Split into four sections, each consecutive one involving a different road trip with more details and a shorter time-span, I found myself also becoming consecutively more involved as the book went on.
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