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Other titles in the Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century series:
On the Road (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)by Jack Kerouac
Synopses & Reviews
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
"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
In its time Jack Kerouac's masterpiece was the bible of the Beat Generation, the essential prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg's Howl. While it stunned the public and literary establishment when it was published in 1957, it is now recognized as an American classic. With On the Road, Kerouac discovered his voice and his true subject—the search for a place as an outsider in America.
On the Road swings to the rhythms of fifties underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns, and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveler and mystic, the living epitome of Beat.
"Life is great, and few can put the zest and wonder and sadness and humor of it on paper more interestingly than Kerouac."
—Luther Nichols, San Francisco Examiner
"Just as, more than any other novel of the Twenties, The Sun Also Rises came to be regarded as the testament of the Lost Generation, so it seems certain that On the Road will come to be known as that of the Beat Generation."
—Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times
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The indisputable bible of the Beat Generation, "On the Road" (1957) fictionalizes Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend, Neal Cassidy.
About the Author
Jack Kerouac's (1922-1969) On the Road was published in 1957, six years after its completion. It went on to become a bestseller and is considered the quintessential statement of the 1950's literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac did stints at Columbia University, in the Navy and in the Merchant Marine before meeting Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady, who would influence the rest of his life and his writing. Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of forty-seven.
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