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On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – Deckle Edge, August 26, 2008
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a A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.a
aLuc Sante," New York Times Book Review"
A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.
Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review"
? A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.?
?Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review"
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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A MUST for any fan of Kerouac!
I was a little worried about the idea of long, unbroken scroll. I'm not a marathon reader, in fact quite the contrary, I tend to read in short bursts due to time constraints and eye strain. When I read about the "original scroll" version of On The Road, I was concerned that I would be turned off by the long, unbroken stream of words. That turned out not to be a concern, partly because the story is episodic even if it isn't formatted that way, and partly because it was a fairly easy read that moved in only one direction - there was very little referential content in the book. Given the names and a brief dossier on about 5 characters or so, you could pick this book up and start reading at any random page.
The book features several commentaries that place the book in historical, political and social context. This is actually crucial for the contemporary reader, because the book is like a time-capsule of a bygone era, and I doubt I would have understood it at all without some background. For a first time reader, these essays cheapen the experience somewhat, because you form an opinion of the book before you've read it. However, I suspect that, again for the modern eye, the prejudicial effect more likely works to offset the different culture in which the modern reader lives than it does to form the reader's impression of the book.
This book purports to be the original scroll, and it appealed to me to read the book Kerouac wanted to publish vs. the edited and censored work he ended up conceding to. Again, to my eyes, there was nothing shocking or sensational about the original - the publishers at the time disagreed.
My guess is that reading this edition is about as close as the modern reader can get to experiencing On The Road the way one of Kerouac's contemporaries would have. That is not to say that the experience is close at all - like seeing a technological advance from an earlier age, one wonders what all the fuss is about. For those wanting to read this famous work, and hoping to see it in the light of a bygone culture, this edition seems to serve that purpose well.