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A long journey still in the making,
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This review is from: On the Road: the Original Scroll (Hardcover)
I suppose it was only a matter of time before the original scroll found its way into print. Jim Irsay paid a cool $2.4 million for the scroll back in 2001. Fortunately, he was generous enough to send the scroll on the road for a 13-stop tour which will be completed next year at Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas.
It is important to have the scroll now in print as it differs significantly from the 1957 edited version we have all come to know over the past 50 years. Regarded as the seminal work of the Beat Generation, On the Road recounts Jack Kerouac's journeys across America in the late 40's and early 50's, where he met up with Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and many others who formed an underground literary movement, that took its beat to some extent from the Be-bop jazz of the era.
In Neal Cassady, known as Dean Moriarty in the 1957 version, Kerouac found his alter ego, a person who lived in the here and now, seemingly oblvious to the world around him. The two covered a lot of ground together, assuming the lives of hobos at times, hopping trains as they criss-crossed the country in search of soulmates. To many influential figures of the era, Cassady appeared to embody the perpetual state of being found in Buddhism. He would have as strong an influence on Ginsberg as he had on Kerouac.
Kerouac went onto write Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, and many other accounts of his travels and relations with the Beat generation. Some of these stories are captured in a new Library of America edition of Jack Kerouac. But, it is On the Road that captured the imagination of a new generation, which treated this book like a Bible for the open road in the 60s, including Francis Ford Coppola, who bought the screen rights to the book in 1968, and is finally making it into a movie with Walter Salles directing.