On the Road: The Original Scroll (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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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 in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic—rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic.
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that would keep (Doll) from bringing suit. For characters like Moriarty, Cowley wrote, “the safest course might be to get the original of the character to sign a release.” Again, Cowley repeated that these were “serious difﬁculties.” Two days later Kerouac ﬁred back another optimistic letter. Reporting that Allen Ginsberg had “just made a sensation” reading “Howl” at the “Six Poets at the Six Gallery” event on October 7, Kerouac said that the problem of libel would be “easily solved.” He would
are “like fabulous roman candles.” People amuse and serve Dean. For Sal, they are purveyors of light. Kerouac felt too deeply the gaps between what life was supposed to be and how people actually lived it. He lamented in a journal entry from 1949, “I feel that I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t know the feeling of calm irreverence—the only madman in the world therefore—the only broken ﬁsh. All the others are perfectly contented with pure life. I am not. I want a pure understanding, and
vulnerable. Most often the missing word or letter is obvious. In those very few instances where this is not the case, I have consulted Kerouac’s subsequent drafts and the published text. And because it so beautifully suggests the sound of a car misﬁring before starting up for a long journey, I have left uncorrected the manuscript’s opening line. Howard Cunnell Brixton, London, 2007 Dedicated to the memory of Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love
living in hopes of catching it once for all…” “No no no, you’re talking absolute bullshit and Wolfean romantic posh!” said Allen, and Neal joined in: “I didn’t mean that at all, but we’ll let Jack have his own mind, and in fact, don’t you think Allen there’s a kind of a dignity in the way he’s sitting there and digging us, crazy cat came all the way across the country..old Jack won’t tell, old Jack won’t tell.” “It isn’t that I won’t tell,” I protested, “I just don’t know what you’re both driving
himself alone in the world, and after all what is a man going to do when his father is buried deep in the ground other than die himself in his heart and know that it won’t be the last time before he dies ﬁnally in his poor mortal body, and, himself a father of children and sire of a family he will return to the original form of a piece of adventurous dust in this fatal ball of earth. The running theme of the search for the father who is dead and the Father who is God gives us to understand that