Next Up: On The Road
This will be my second (maybe third?) go around with On The Road. About 15 years ago, I would’ve told you that On the Road was one of my favorite novels.
These days? I’m not so sure.
It’s the perfect novel for a 24 year old who’s still trying to figure stuff out—and one who can pick up and go on a road trip across the country on a few day’s notice. But that’s not me anymore…so I wonder how my age and life situation will influence my view of this novel.
I guess we’ll find out.
Here are a few fun facts about On the Road and Jack Kerouac:
- The novel, broken up into five “books,” was published in 1957 at the height of the beat movement.
- In addition to appearing on the Time list, the novel was named the 55th best English Language novel of the 20th Century by the Modern Library.
- On the Road is a roman a clef, a fancy French term meaning characters in the novel represent real people. Examples: Kerouac is represented by the narrator, Sal Paradise. Old Bull Lee represents William Burroughs (he of Naked Lunch fame). Carlo Marx represents Allen Ginsberg.
- The novel was supposedly typed out on a continuous 120-foot long scroll in just three weeks.
- The original scroll was purchased by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay in 2001 for a cool $2.4 million.
- A feature film based on the novel was released in 2012, starring Sam Riley as Sal, Garrett Hedlund as Dean, Kirsten Dunst as Camille, and Kristen Stewart as Mary Lou.
That’s it for now.
We’ll talk a lot more about this novel, its influence, and its reception in the coming weeks.
And while we’re talking about being on the road, I’ll mention here that I won’t be posting on Monday and Wednesday of next week. See you next Friday!