On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States.
Jack Kerouac's On the Road is one of the most controversial American novels of the 20th century. When critics concede that the book and its author were instrumental in triggering the rucksack revolution, this is to damn with praise, as Kerouac is reduced to a one-book author (though he published some twenty volumes containing a wide range of prose and poetry). Moreover, the spiteful acknowledgement of a sociohistorical fact imports an aesthetic grudge against a novel that a close reading reveals to be far more conventional than most of its adversaries would would care to realize.
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922, the youngest of three children in a Franco-American family. He attended local Catholic and public schools and won a football scholarship to Columbia University in New York City, where he first met Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. His first novel, The Town and the City, appeared in 1950, but it was On the Road, first published in 1957 and memorializing his adventures with Neal Cassady, that epitomized to the world what became known as the Beat generation and made Kerouac one of the most controversial and best-known writers of his time. Publication of his many other books followed, among them The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, and Big Sur. Kerouac considered them all to be part of The Duluoz Legend.
Based on Jack Kerouac’s own experiences driving across the USA, ‘On The Road’ tells the story of Sal Paradise – the narrator – and Dean Moriarty. This book stands out of all the works written by the ‘Beat Generation’, and has been an inspiration for the young and restless ever since its publication. 1) Read the extract as you listen to the narration, and fill in the gaps below. 2) Answer the True/False questions to test your comprehension. 3) Listen to the complete book.
centerlight pop and everybody goes Awww! ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road. Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road
When I put On the Road on my Classics Club list, I knew little or nothing about the Beat Generation, except what I picked up living in San Francisco for a few years. Still, Kerouac is one of those literary icons I don’t feel complete without reading. This book came up as my Classic Spin book for March-April, which means it was picked randomly from my list as the next book I read. Which is good, because I had to force myself to read this book. I heard from a number of bloggers that this was a disappointing and difficult read, and it was.
DETAIL: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road has become a classic text in American literary counterculture. Paradise’s journey with the free and reckless Dean Moriarty (based on fellow Beat adventurer Neal Cassady) from the East to the West Coast of America is a celebration of the abundance, vitality, and spirit of American youth