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On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States....

On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations, with its protagonists living life against on the road jack kerouac pdf free download backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use. The novel, published in 1957, is a roman à clef, with many key figures in the Beat movement, such as William S. Kerouac himself as the narrator Sal Paradise.


The idea for On the Road, Kerouac’s second novel, was formed during the late 1940s in a series of notebooks, and then typed out on a continuous reel of paper during three weeks in April 1951. It was first published by Viking Press in 1957. Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Walter Salles.

When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked On the Road 55th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. After Kerouac dropped out of Columbia University, he served on several different sailing vessels before returning to New York to write. He met and mixed with Beat Generation figures Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady.

Kerouac engaged in the road adventures that would form On the Road. Kerouac carried small notebooks, in which much of the text was written as the eventful span of road trips unfurled.

He started working on the first of several versions of the novel as early as 1948, based on experiences during his first long road trip in 1947. However, he remained dissatisfied with the novel. Inspired by a 10000-word rambling letter from his friend Neal Cassady, Kerouac in 1950 outlined the “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose” and decided to tell the story of his years on the road with Cassady as if writing a letter to a friend in a form that reflected the improvisational fluidity of jazz. It was really a story about 2 Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God.

The first draft of what was to become the published novel was written in three weeks in April 1951, while Kerouac lived with Joan Haverty, his second wife, at 454 West 20th Street in New York City’s Manhattan. The manuscript was typed on what he called “the scroll”—a continuous, 120-foot scroll of tracing paper sheets that he cut to size and taped together.

The roll was typed single-spaced, without margins or paragraph breaks. On the Road was championed within Viking Press by Malcolm Cowley and was published by Viking in 1957, based on revisions of the 1951 manuscript.

Besides differences in formatting, the published novel was shorter than the original scroll manuscript and used pseudonyms for all of the major characters. 50th anniversary of original publication.

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