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On the Road

On the Road

Paperback Penguin Modern Classics

By (author) Jack Kerouac, Introduction by Ann Charters

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  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 24mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141182679
  • ISBN 13: 9780141182674
  • Sales rank: 662

Product description

Five decades after it was first published, Jack Kerouac's seminal beat novel "On the Road" finally finds its way to the big screen, in a production from award-winning director Walter Salles ("Motorcycle Diaries") starring Sam Riley ("Control, Brighton Rock"), Garret Hedlund ("Friday Night Lights"), Kristen Stewart ("Twilight"), Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen. Sal Paradise ("Sam Riley"), a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty ("Garrett Hedlund"), a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream. A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion. One of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, "On the Road" is the book that launched the Beat Generation and remains the bible of that literary movement. Jack Kerouac (1922-69) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. His first published novel, "The Town and the City", appeared in 1950, but it was "On the Road", published in 1957, that made Kerouac famous. Publication of his many other books followed, among them "The Subterraneans", "Big Sur", and "The Dharma Bums". Kerouac died in Florida at the age of forty-seven. "The most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as "beat"' The New York Times 'Pop writing at its best. It changed the way I saw the world, making me yearn for fresh experience." (Hanif Kureishi, "Independent on Sunday"). ""On the Road" sold a trillion Levis and a million espresso machines, and also sent countless kids on the road." ("William Burroughs").

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Author information

Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969) was an American novelist, poet, artist and part of the Beat Generation. Most of his life was spent in the vast landscapes of America or living with his mother, with whom he spent most of his life. Kerouac's best known works are On the Road and The Dharma Bums. Ann Charters, professor of English at the University of Connecticut, has been interested in Beat writers since 1956, when as an undergraduate English major she attended the repeat performance of the Six Gallery poetry reading in Berkeley where Allen Ginsberg gave his sencond public reading of Howl. After his death she wrote the first Kerouac biography and edited his posthumous collection, Scattered Poems. She was the general editor of the two-volume encyclopaedia The Beats: Literary Bohemians In Postwar America and has published a collection of her photographic portraits of well-known writers in the book Beats & Company.

Review quote

? A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.??Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review"

Editorial reviews

A memorable and influential rather than a great book. But teenagers love this novel of long roads, big cars, free jazz and loose women without reservation. Kerouac wrote the book in 12 days of 'continuous bop prosody' on an unbroken roll of wrapping paper - for writers, fame might be just a fortnight away. Sadly much of Kerouac's other work seems dated and simple-minded but On the Road is still of tremendous human and historical interest. (Kirkus UK)