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Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West 20th Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.
It was not until more than six years later, and after several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social contexts.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By yoguinha on 11-25-16
A Classic Brought to Life
This edition is as authentic as it gets. The text is exactly what Kerouac first wrote on the legendary single spaced typed scroll. The presentation is excellent, making it easy to follow the story and insights of the author. The clean, straight forward narration style served the content well. Great audio book.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By john in RI on 06-20-17
John V nails it!
Would you listen to On the Road: The Original Scroll again? Why?
I already have
What other book might you compare On the Road: The Original Scroll to and why?
I would compare it to the published version of OTR. I found it very interesting to hear the parts which were edited out and the actual names of the characters.
Which character – as performed by John Ventimiglia – was your favorite?
He did a great job with every character and captured the excitement and momentum of the story. You can tell he loves Kerouac.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
My tag line would be "Don't try to make a movie out of this book"
Any additional comments?
You might be familiar with some of John Ventimiglia's other work. Look him up on IMDB.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful