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On the Road: The Original Scroll

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  6,759 ratings  ·  486 reviews
The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published as Kerouac originally composed it

IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover
Paperback, 408 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (first published 2007)
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I've been meaning to review this book for a while, but I get sort of emotional reading what other people think about Kerouac, and it has been hard to figure out what I want to say. I feel almost personally insulted by some of the more negative reviews which is totally weird and inappropriate of me. I guess I identify with Kerouac because in his heart he's not really all that unconventional, but he loves the company of wild adventurers and can be talked into almost anything.

I reread the original
Before we were married, my wife and I embarked upon an epic road trip. We packed our shit and headed for the coast of California with zeal and hope, looking for a break from the mundane discomfort an Arizona summer could always be counted upon to provide.

Our destination was San Francisco, but it could have been anywhere. When we arrived, we had a good time. We explored the city and found a new favorite place that was strikingly different from home. But our enjoyment of the place was undeniably h

Five stars is not enough for this book: it should be ten stars! This is a very beautiful book and rightfully an American classic. Stunning!

"On The Road" is the real deal. I just started reading this and it's just a fantastic read. The energy just pops out of the page. The punk rock of novels. Mr. Jack just had the 'moment' when he wrote this, and it is incredible experience to share that 'moment' with the great man. Great.
K.D. Absolutely
What I find intriguing about this book was how it was spontaneously written: 3 months on a scroll of papers. Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) did not have formal training on writing and probably he wanted to make a statement by packing up his things and write his experience while on the road with a friend, Neal Cassady (1926-1968). The book was largely autobiographical and describes Kerouac's road-trip adventures across the United States and Mexico with Cassady in the late 40s, as well as his relationsh ...more
I felt hungover by the time I was done reading this book. I couldn't wait for it to end and it's not because I wanted to find out what was going to happen.

While there are a few great lines like, "My mother once said that the world would never find peace unless men fell at their women's feet and asked for forgiveness...," and the famous, " ...Because the only people who interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that
This might be my only 1 star review on Goodreads out of 300+ I've rated here so far. Why didn't I like it? In short, it's a buddy-travel-memoir by an extremely immature and sexist 30-something written in a single paragraph. That's right. All 300+ pages of this book (and I'm not counting the 100 pages of introductions by the so-called scholars and critics who adore Kerouac and this book) are a single paragraph. About a quarter of the way through this behemoth paragraph, it was all I could do not ...more
"Questa è la storia dell'America. Tutti fanno quel che credono di dover fare."

Tutti conoscono Sulla strada, romanzo manifesto della beat generation, troppo d'avanguardia per gli anni in cui fu pubblicato eppure inevitabilmente prodotto intimo di quegli stessi anni. Migliaia sono le opere, le creazioni, che quel romanzo simbolo ispirò, rendendo oggi fin troppo abusata l'idea stessa del viaggio sulla strada, da costa a costa. Eppure forse pochi sanno che il "vero" romanzo si nasconde altrove: un "
Aug 05, 2014 Stephen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of poetic prose and searchers for an earlier hillbilly america
The continent "groans" again and again.

The night is too often "sad," the cities are "mad" or "wild" and "sad" some more. New York is the "edge of the continent," and San Francisco, too and sometimes they're the "rim of the world," or some similar allusion.

Jack Kerouac and his friends, would be considered drunks and losers by the standards of most. The author's muse and messiah, Neal Cassady, is a fellow too easily distracted, undisciplined and, by today's measurements, a candidate for depressi
It seems like I don't get along well with Mr. Kerouac. Maybe some other time.
Jim Cherry
The plot to “On The Road” wouldn’t really tell you what “On The Road” is about because the travels of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity are more existential than overt action. Yes, they drive from coast to coast, meet people, go to parties, but it’s not the action that is important but the experience Sal and Dean derive from each adventure.

The real story of “On The Road: The Original Scroll” isn’t in the book but in how Kerouac created it. The autobiographical elements that made up “On The Road,”
I became a fan of the 'original' version around my second year of high school. I remember idolizing these crazy characters - to the point of writing a paper for English class on 'The Beats'. When I heard that this minimally edited version was available, I looked forward to reliving my love of this wild bunch of friends...jumping madly across the continent. Free of conformist society, traditional writing methods, and the mindless responsibilities of the new modern life.

At first I was intimidate
Well it is actually hard to say if I enjoyed this book, it wasn't terrible, but this is one of the occasions when a better word should be used. So I think three stars is fair. At first I thought to say straight away that Kerouac was a sort of son to Steinbeck's short stories like Sweet Thursday, Cannery Row, etc. etc. and that his road odyssey was him and some pals escaping death and situations they couldn't handle. But it is much more than that, in fact it was so many things that I wondered at ...more
Perhaps it's because I am a 19-year-old liberal arts college student or perhaps it's because I always have and probably always will yearn for excitement and beauty and adventure, but whatever the reason may be, I absolutely loved Kerouac's On The Road>i>. Every passage drew me in deeper and deeper until I could hardly stand just how much I wanted jump in the car or on a train or bus and make it across the country to the West Coast. Even the frantic tales of endless NYC nights beckoned me t ...more
I first read On The Road (the non-original-scroll) when I was 15 years old and it changed my life. I was off school for the summer holidays and I read The Catcher In The Rye too, and despite not much else happening that summer, it remains vivid in my memory. It was the first book that spoke to me, or for me, and I guess it either altered my way of thinking or else it validated what was already becoming a way of looking at the world for me. For that reason I've always been reluctant to revisit On ...more
On the Road – Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical novel of the exhilarating and exhausting cross-country road trips of 20-somethings Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty – was such an enormous watershed in American culture that it seems quite fitting that its 50th anniversary should be noted by Viking with no less than three newly published books: "On the Road: The 50th Anniversary Edition," "On the Road: The Original Scroll," and "Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of ‘On the Road."

While the 50th anniversa
My first experience of On the Road was this quotation:

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

It was actually quoted in a fanfiction, as Axel's favourite book (Kingdom Hearts AU). It's stuck with me, ever since: not the fanfiction itself, but the q
Kyle van Oosterum
I don’t know where to start. Perhaps on the first page. In this heavily unedited, raw manuscript, there appears a remarkable misprint: “I first met met Neal Cassady not long after my father had died.” It suggests a car misfiring right before it takes on a soulful and epiphanic odyssey, which is pretty much what this novel is.

There has probably never been a bigger fan of the continental United States than Jack Kerouac. He’s intoxicated by the landscape, gets high off of the Jazz and has a profou
Read the STOP SMILING review of the British edition of On the Road: The Original Scroll:

We’ve been waiting a long time for a definitive (textual) edition of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. But, alas, On the Road: The Original Scroll (Howard Cunnell, editor: Viking-Penguin, 2007) isn’t it. Yes, we have the original unexpurgated transcript with the real names reinstated and an informative if at times ill-organized introduction on the writing of the novel by Cunnell that corrects some misconceptions on

1951 tippte Jack Keruac auf seiner Schreibmaschine in einem Ausbruch kreativer Energie innerhalb von drei Wochen die erste Fassung von "On the road" ab. Auf notdürftig zusammengeklebten Seiten, brachte er seine Reiseimpressionen in einem absatzlosen Text zu Papier.

Ausgerollt formt dieses Schriftstück auch physisch eine Straße, was den Kultcharakter des Romans noch verstärkt.

Im Gegensatz zum sechs Jahre später erscheinenden Roman ist diese Rohfassung etwas länger, roher, wilder, frenetischer und
I read "The Original Scroll" only, and it was great, deserving of its status... (I haven't really compared the two yet, haven't read a full paragraph in OTR, but check out the difference in GR ratings...they are much higher for the Scroll! Probably means they are very different experiences.) OK, here is my review of The Original Scroll... [Update, I've read both, both 5 stars for me.]

My opinion and experience: The only negatives for me in On the Road The Original Scroll were the second 30 pages
Este ano comprei um conjunto de post-it para não riscar os livros com um lápis. Foi uma boa ideia, este livro ficou cheio de post-it laranja. Kerouac entregou-se de corpo e alma a este livro, dá para sentir. Quase ouvi o barulho da máquina de escrever. Incrível como ele conseguiu relatar a sua aventura com o amigo Neal (entre outros) de forma tão real. A sensação que dá é que Kerouac estava a escrever ao mesmo tempo que as coisas aconteciam, o que é impossível. Se escrevi ao final do dia o que s ...more
Jason Ernst
After intending to read "On the Road" for a good five years, I finally put it on my wish list and received a copy that contained two versions: "The Original Scroll" and one of the more punctuated, commonly published versions.

While I didn't enjoy either, my impression of what I read should be taken with a thick grain of salt. I am a wanderer at heart who has spend the last few years traipsing around the globe while writing copy to fund my budget travel experiences, which have included plenty of h
Jen Knox
I enjoyed this book far more a few years ago. I think Kerouac's tale is decent, gloriously rebellious, but over-hyped; this book is marked with a few fantastic insights but my belief is that On The Road is only popular due to timeliness and the oft-consumed glamorization of alcoholism. Kerouac was the face of the movement, not the grit.

William Burroughs was able to write about such tales while bringing to life the disease, the twisting of the gut that follows escapades similar to Kerouac's, only
Rosemary Ceravolo
Jan 22, 2009 Rosemary Ceravolo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all the world
You had to be there to love and understand Kerouac's genius.

Here's an amazingly prescient quote from the (c. 1948-1951),
Original Scroll of "On the Road," finally published in 2007:

p.219 - "When daybreak came we were
zooming through New Jersey
with a great cloud of Metropolitan NY
rising before us in the snowy distance.
Neal had a sweater
wrapped around his ears
to keep warm. He said we were a band of
Arabs coming to blow up New York.
We swished through the Lincoln Tunnel
and came out
Mary Soderstrom
This is a book I came to well into writing my non-fiction book, Road through Time. It's about roads as vectors for change and exchange, but when I told people the working title, the supposition was that I was trying to do a Kerouac.

So, of course, I had to read it. Written in the early 1950s, it has not aged well, I think. While Kerouac and his friends were trying to crash through the ordinary, workaday world to something full of life and joy, the means they use are ultimately self-deceiving. Lot
I think of Neal Cassady.
I was 19 when I read "On the Road" for the first time. It was inspiring. I read it again at age 40 and was surprised to discover that I did not like it as much. The irresponsible behavior of the characters which seemed so exhilarating at 19 seemed pointless and disappointing at age 40. So, why 5 stars? I was curious to see why my feelings about OTR had changed so drastically...was it me or was it Kerouac? I decided to learn a bit more about Kerouac by reading through some of his journals (Windbl ...more
In hopes of understanding Jack Kerouac's mind at its best, most complete way, I chose to pick up the 'Original Scroll' of his most famous novel before even considering touching the heavily-revised, partially fictionalized version - the On the Road we know today. It bothered me to know that his hard work - no matter how casually vulgar his words and actions may be - were edited to be something else. It seemed more real to me to experience his first thoughts in the original format.

What an adventur
James Trammell
A lot of friends, when they learned I was reading On the Road for the first time, made comments that, when roughly summed up, sounded something like, ”Yeah, I read that when I was 19 and it excited me to no end but that of the road, but when I opened it again a few years later it was at best pedestrian,” as though to warn me against any high hopes my thirty-year-old eyes may have been harboring at the outset. And to be fair, the typical thirty year old has long since dealt with (or pushed down, ...more
Pedro Freitas
Um livro há muito desejado e uma espera que não podia ter sido mais recompensadora!
Contradição e paradoxo são os melhores sinónimos para esta obra. Paradoxo desde logo entre o cenário e as personagens. O cenário: A estrada! a estrada entre o Este e o Oeste, a estrada across America, onde Kerouac nos leva por uma beleza que ele não nos descreve literalmente, mas transmite-nos sim as sensações que ela lhe desperta, e é nessas sensações (extremas muitas vezes) que descobrimos toda a beleza dos loc
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  • Go
  • Collected Letters, 1944-1967
  • Collected Poems 1947-1997
  • Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)
  • Jack's Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir
  • The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation
  • Jack Kerouac: Angel-Headed Hipster
  • Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
  • Kerouac: A Biography
  • You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac
  • Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, And America
  • Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats
  • Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • The Happy Birthday of Death
  • The Yage Letters
  • The Beat Book
Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.
Early Life

Famed writer Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Keroua
More about Jack Kerouac...

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“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” 4234 likes
“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.” 1769 likes
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