On the road novel

On the Road: Jack Kerouac’s American Masterpiece

First published on this day in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s second novel On the Road was sketched out in journals he’d kept during travels in the late 40s and written on a continuous roll of taped-together tracing paper he’d concocted so as to avoid interruption of his stream of consciousness.

Considered the “clearest and most important utterance yet made by the [Beat] generation Kerouac himself named years ago,” the autobiographical work chronicles the cross-country adventures he had made with such fictionalized real-life figures as Allen Ginsburg, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady.

Though it received mixed reaction initially, the novel is considered today an American classic and was named by Time Magazine as “one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005”.

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