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Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957-1960: On the Road / The Dharma Bums / The Subterraneans / Tristessa / Lonesome Traveler / Journal Selections (Library of America) Hardcover – September 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hard to believe, but this year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the celebrated Mr. K's Beat bible, "On the Road ", a book that came out of nowhere and knocked everyone on their butts. Kerouac joins The Library of America with this ensemble of four novels ("Road, The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans", and "Tristessa ") plus "Lonesome Traveler ", a collection of travel essays, and selections from his journals of thumbing and bumming his way across Europe and Mexico. Road's anniversary will lure new readers as well as old ones looking for another fix, and this collection is a wonderful bargain. Happy anniversary, Jack." --"Library Journal, July 15, 2007

About the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; 1st edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530124
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
September 5, 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's (1922 -- 1969) most famous novel, "On the Road". The Library of America has aptly commemorated the event with its newly-released volume of Kerouac's "Road Novels." The works in this collection were published between 1957 -- 1960, although most of them were written considerably earlier. This volume includes four Kerouac novels, a collection of essays called "Lonesome Traveler", and selections from Kerouac's journals. This volume offers the opportunity for readers to revisit and reassess Kerouac and for new readers to get to know his work. Kerouac amply deserves to be included in the Library of America series which is devoted to honoring the best of American literary achievement.

Kerouac, for all his personal failings and his difficulties with alcoholism and substance abuse, had a better understanding of what his work was about than did some of his critics. In his introduction to "Lonesome Traveler", Kerouac wrote: "Always considered writing my duty on earth. Also the preachment of universal kindness, which hysterical critics have failed to notice beneath frenetic activity of my true-story novels about the 'beat' generation. -- Am actually not 'beat' but strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic."

Kerouac's novels are autobiographical in character. His works lack artistic distance, but they more than compensate for this lack with their immediacy and sense of honesty. They describe a complex and torn individual whose life had been riddled with failure but who was driven to succeed as a writer. Part of Kerouac rejected mainstream American conformity and materialism in favor of a bohemian life of spontanaiety, sex, and wild experience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
2007 was in many ways an interesting year. For one it marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of first of Jack Kerouac's so-called road novels, the seminal "On the Road."This book is one of many commemorating that event, but is one the better selections because it contains four of Kerouac's best known road books along with his lesser known "Lonesome Traveler" and relevant selections from the journal that he kept throughout his life.

"On the Road" was an instant best seller for Kerouac, yet is it is a strange book in many ways. Like all of Kerouac's novels it is a slightly fictionalized autobiography. It concern's a period in his life when he became infatuated with Neil Cassidy (Dean Moriarty) and the search for something never fully defined. Much like the recent hit comedy, "Seinfeld", nothing really happens in this novel. Yet it is a fascinating read because it is filled with touching, funny, or bizarre events that are interesting perhaps because they lead nowhere. This set the pattern for the whole road novel series. These novels also reflect and describe the anomie felt by Kerouac till the day of his death. Some maintain that the third novel in this series "The Subterraneans" is the best, but this is debatable. It also is claimed that the so-called `beat generation' was spawned by the first novel of the series. This is nonsense.

"On the Road" actually refers to events that happened ten years before its publication in 1947-48.
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Format: Hardcover
The September 5, 2007 fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On The Road is commemorated by the release of three major volumes: A designated 50th Anniversary edition (Viking, $24.95); On The Road: The Original Scroll, the long-awaited controversial release of the uncensored 120-foot alleged "teletype roll" on which Kerouac blasted out his masterwork in just three weeks, six years before its publication (Viking, $26.95); and the handsome Library of America edition ($35.00), Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957-1960, edited with notes by neo-historian Douglas Brinkley, featuring Road and five other of his best known novels with selections from his journals.
Whether this literary blitz will land a grand revival of Kerouac's work by old and new generations is yet unseen. But it secures his reputation as a major American writer because his voice resonates with great poignant prose of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and John Steinbeck, celebrating wonders and adventures of youthful travels on the open road.
On The Road helped kick off the 1950s literary "Beat Generation", including works of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. It recounts early adventures of Kerouac ("Sal Paradise"), sidekick Neal Cassady ("Dean Moriarty"), Burroughs ("Old Bull Lee"), Ginsberg ("Carlo Marx") and others as they traveled the country in stolen and transport service cars, and partied with sex and drugs while digging be-bop jazz and celebrating the sights and sounds of America. One 1949 trip was to Burroughs' New Orleans house on Wagner Street in Algiers, now renovated and commemorated by an historical marker on its grounds with a quotation from On The Road. Kerouac wrote of crossing the Mississippi River on the Algiers ferry.
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