Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another 50th Anniversary

Malaysia isn't the only one celebrating her golden jubilee this year!

It's fifty years since Jack Keroac's On the Road, was published. An immediate best-seller, it tells the story of Keroac and his friend "Dean Moriaty" (actually Neal Cassady) as they travel across the US. It was an immediate best-seller, and is the book which best defined the "Beat Generation" which challenged the conformist and materialist values of post-war America. Another Beat novelist, William S. Burroughs, once said that the book "sent countless kids on the road".

Admirers of the novel celebrated with a marathon 12 hour cover-to-cover reading in Boulder, Colorado to kick off the university's inaugural Kerouac Festival.

Keroac taped together sheets of semi-translucent paper so that the flow through his typewriter would be uninterrupted, and the resulting manuscript was 120 feet long (and written breathlessly in a single paragraph)!

Now the "scroll" on which the novel was typed (bought for $2.4 million at auction last year) has gone on show in the the author's hometown, Lowell, Massachusetts, and will be displayed around the country.

And a new edition of the book has been released by Penguin classics, with all the original names restored as well as scenes that got edited out for fear of charges of obscenity. George Mouratidis in the Age describes his own involvement with the project in a piece which captures the spirit and the atmosphere of the original.

This goes on my wish list!

10 comments:

Janet said...

Read it, love it. Somebody (I forget who) said something along the lines of "that's not writing, that's typing" - implying that it was a badly edited novel (or a non-novel) but I think Kerouac writes beautifully, and so wistfully too, so yes, I can understand why it would've sent many young people on the road! Haven't read his other novels though, wonder if they're any good.
Thanks for highlighting this, Sharon!

Chet said...

Sharon - On the Road goes on my wish list, too!

I visited City Lights bookstore in 1990 but was a poor grad school dropout and the only book I could buy from the store, to commemorate my visit, was Allen Ginsberg's Howl. But Ginsberg had always been my favourite Beat author.

enar arshad said...

i love this book. "the ones for me are the mad ones, they burn like a roman candles"

it is my prized possession.had to ask a friend to buy it in singapore almost 10 years ago.

Sufian said...

Can the cover be uglier?

june said...

Loved Dharma Bums, had read it several times but I couldn't get into On the Road. I'd probably give the new edition a try however.. btw, there is a copy of On the Road at Payless Books, Amcorp mall.. (old edition - but lovely cover!)

Kimberlycun said...

the author must be on something!

bibliobibuli said...

june - although i will pick up a copy of any version if i see one, i want the original scroll version with the cut bits restored and the real names put back in

kimberly - i'm sure he was, he did a lot of drugs (he passed away though in 1969)

Anonymous said...

A lot of people were on drugs in the 60s.. it's a lot easier to write when you're on them, but most of it is drivel :P

Greenbottle said...

a lot of people are on drugs now too but they can't write shit

Chet said...

Here's a 1964 journey inspired by Kerouc's On the Road:

On My Road by Holland Cotter

The above requires registration. Free extract here:
Inspiration: On My Road