On the Road: The Original Scroll

  • by Jack Kerouac
  • Narrated by John Ventimiglia
  • 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- yoguinha

Perfect reading of a great book.

The narrator for this book was perfectly cast. Anyone who regularly listens to audio books knows how important this is and in this they nailed it. Will definitively re-listen.
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- Mark Ryan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-08-2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio