4 Nov 2021, Re-reading Jack Kerouac (1957): On the road

4.11.2021, Re-reading Jack Kerouac (1957): On the road

Jack Kerouac (1957): On the road. Penguin Books, New York, NY.

Book structure:

  • Part 1 (pp. 3-107): New York – Chicago – Denver – San Francisco – Mill City – Oakland – Bakersfield – Los Angeles – Hollywood – Bakersfield – Sabinal – New York
  • Part 2 (pp. 109-178): Virginia – New York – New Orleans – El Paso – Tucson – Bakersfield – San Francisco
  • Part 3 (pp. 179-247): Denver – San Francisco – Denver – Chicago – New York
  • Part 4 (pp. 249-303): New York – Denver – San Antonio – Gregoria (MX) – Mexico City
  • Part 5 (pp. 305-310): Mexico City – New York

Selected highlights:

  • p.3 With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West …
  • p.5 Dean … came right out to Paterson, New Jersey, where I was living with my aunt.
  • p.8 the only-people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk …, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn …
  • p.11 Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.
  • p.43 Carlo and I went through rickety streets in the Denver night. The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great that I thought I was in a dream.
  • p.59 I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air – air you can kiss – and palms.
  • p.124 I didn’t know where all this was leading; I didn’t care.
  • p.140 The air was so sweet in New Orleans it seemed to come in soft bandannas; and you could smell the river …
  • p.169-170 … we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of … fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.
  • p.205 Frisco … America’s most excited city – and overhead the pure blue sky and the joy of the foggy sea that always rolls in at night …
  • p.276 Dean and I had the whole of Mexico before us …
  • p.309 So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast …
  • p.310 … I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of … the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.

Back cover: … Gilbert Millstein (The New York Times): “A historic occasion … the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Road: … based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States … considered a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations, with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use … many key figures of the Beat movement, such as … Allen Ginsberg (Carlo Marx), and Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty) represented by characters in the book, including Kerouac himself as the narrator Sal Paradise …