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Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)

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Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The author of Hip: The History reveals the lessons of the original hipster bible, On the Road.

Legions of youthful Americans have taken On the Road as a manifesto for rebellion and an inspiration to hit the road. But there is much more to the novel than that.

In Why Kerouac Matters, John Leland embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of the novel, arguing that it still matters because at its core it is a book that is full of lessons about how to grow up. Leland's focus is on Sal Paradise, the Kerouac alter ego, who has always been overshadowed by his fictional running buddy Dean Moriarty. Leland examines the lessons that Paradise absorbs and dispenses on his novelistic journey to manhood, and how those lessons about work and money, love and sex, art and holiness still reverberate today. He shows how On the Road is a primer for male friendship and the cultivation of traditional family values, and contends that the stereotype of the two wild and crazy guys obscures the novels core themes of the search for atonement, redemption, and divine revelation. Why Kerouac Matters offers a new take on Kerouac's famous novel, overturning many misconceptions about it and making clear the themes Kerouac was trying to impart.

Review:

"'Having immersed himself in Beat culture while writing Hip: A History, Leland, a New York Times reporter and former editor-in-chief of Details, makes a convincing case that Jack Kerouac's most famous novel has endured for half a century because it's 'a book about how to live your life.' The lesson isn't about impulsive self-gratification, as many readers believe, aided by Kerouac's tendency to go vague in his most emotionally critical passages. Leland reminds us that narrator Sal Paradise was always looking to settle down into a conventional life, and Kerouac, Leland says, was generally of a conservative mindset. Framing On the Road as a spiritual quest, Leland deftly combines the biographical facts of Kerouac's life with discussions of his literary antecedents in Melville and Goethe, as well as the inspiration he took from contemporary jazz, finding in bebop's rhythms a new way to circle around a story's themes. Section headings like 'The 7 Habits of Highly Beat People' get a little silly, but Leland's insights provide new layers of significance even for those familiar with the novel.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Few manuscripts have been so mythologized as the scroll, the legendary roll of paper fed into a manual typewriter to accommodate Jack Kerouac's torrential word flow, the three-week performance, fueled by coffee, that became 'On the Road.' In 2001, the scroll commanded the highest price at auction ever paid for a literary document, $2.43 million (more than Joyce's 'Ulysses'), when sold to James Irsay,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Leland's book is one of the first to take advantage of the availability of the original scroll typescript of Kerouac's novel for comparison with the 1957 volume....Written in an informal, accessible style, it will appeal to Kerouac fans as well as academics." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Legions of youthful Americans have taken On the Road as a manifesto for rebellion and an inspiration to hit the road. But there is much more to the book than that. In Why Kerouac Matters, John Leland embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of the novel, arguing that it still matters because it lays out an alternative road map to growing up. Along the way, Leland overturns many misconceptions about On the Road as he examines the lessons that Kerouac?s alter ego, Sal Paradise, absorbs and dispenses on his novelistic journey to manhood, and how those lessons?about work and money, love and sex, art and holiness? still reverberate today.

Synopsis:

The author of "Hip: The History" embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of Jack Kerouacs "On the Road," arguing for its relevance and shows that it is a book full of lessons about how to grow up.

About the Author

John Leland is a reporter for The New York Times and former editor in chief of Details magazine. He is the author of Hip: The History.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670063253
Subtitle:
The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)
Author:
Leland, John
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Autobiographical fiction, American
Subject:
Beat generation in literature
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Kerouac, Jack
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20080826
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.70x5.52x.82 in. .74 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think) Used Hardcover
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Product details 224 pages Viking Books - English 9780670063253 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Having immersed himself in Beat culture while writing Hip: A History, Leland, a New York Times reporter and former editor-in-chief of Details, makes a convincing case that Jack Kerouac's most famous novel has endured for half a century because it's 'a book about how to live your life.' The lesson isn't about impulsive self-gratification, as many readers believe, aided by Kerouac's tendency to go vague in his most emotionally critical passages. Leland reminds us that narrator Sal Paradise was always looking to settle down into a conventional life, and Kerouac, Leland says, was generally of a conservative mindset. Framing On the Road as a spiritual quest, Leland deftly combines the biographical facts of Kerouac's life with discussions of his literary antecedents in Melville and Goethe, as well as the inspiration he took from contemporary jazz, finding in bebop's rhythms a new way to circle around a story's themes. Section headings like 'The 7 Habits of Highly Beat People' get a little silly, but Leland's insights provide new layers of significance even for those familiar with the novel.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Leland's book is one of the first to take advantage of the availability of the original scroll typescript of Kerouac's novel for comparison with the 1957 volume....Written in an informal, accessible style, it will appeal to Kerouac fans as well as academics."
"Synopsis" by ,
Legions of youthful Americans have taken On the Road as a manifesto for rebellion and an inspiration to hit the road. But there is much more to the book than that. In Why Kerouac Matters, John Leland embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of the novel, arguing that it still matters because it lays out an alternative road map to growing up. Along the way, Leland overturns many misconceptions about On the Road as he examines the lessons that Kerouac?s alter ego, Sal Paradise, absorbs and dispenses on his novelistic journey to manhood, and how those lessons?about work and money, love and sex, art and holiness? still reverberate today.

"Synopsis" by , The author of "Hip: The History" embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of Jack Kerouacs "On the Road," arguing for its relevance and shows that it is a book full of lessons about how to grow up.
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