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On the Road. by  Jack KEROUAC - Signed First Edition - 1957 - from Peter Harrington and Biblio.com

On the Road.

by KEROUAC, Jack

Condition: See description


New York: The Viking Press,, 1957. Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine and front board in white. With the dust jacket. Housed in a quarter red morocco box. Spine a little rolled but an excellent copy in the slightly creased and lightly frayed dust jacket. First edition, first printing, presentation copy to Pieter W. Fosburgh and his wife Liza, inscribed by the author in red crayon, "To Peter [sic] and Liza Fosburgh, Writing in red crayon in memory of the Red House, Jack Kérouac [sic] (Idiot) (St. Jack of the Germs)" [the last five words in pencil]. This is a fascinating and thoroughly characterful presentation. The remembered "Red House" is likely to be to the large redbrick St Louis elementary School in the Centralville section of Lowell, Massachusetts, which Kerouac attended from April 1929 through to the fourth grade. Pieter Whitney Fosburgh (1915-1978), author of the proto-conservationist book, The Natural Thing: the Land and its Citizens (New York: Macmillan, 1959), was editor of New York State's Department of Conservation magazine. As his middle name indicates he was descended through his mother from the socially prominent Whitney family of Massachusetts, and seems likely to have also attended the "Red House" elementary. His brothers James and Hugh were also naturalists, art critics, writers, and artists, and his wife Liza wrote children's books.

Perhaps the most famous and influential of the Beat novels, Jack Kerouac's On the Road represents much of what made the Beat and Counterculture movements so unique and important. The plot concerning the road trips and adventures experienced by Kerouac and his friends is well-known, as are the rumors and tall tales of the books' production. Kerouac often claimed that the wrote On the Road in a mere three weeks on a single 120-foot scroll of paper. Although that scroll does indeed exist and is featured in museums, Kerouac kept detailed journals of his travels that would later become passages and chapters in the finished product. The book was first published by Viking in 1957. True first printings of the book include the $3.95 pricing information on the top right hand corner of the front inside dust jacket flap. Later printings and subsequent book club editions do not feature the price in that location. Additionally, a photo of Kerouac is featured on the back inside cover flap along with a brief description of the author. Viking Press would go on to publish an edited version of On the Road in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first printing. They substituted the fictional names for the real Beat protagonists, and they even included some of the more sexually explicit passages that were edited out of the 1957 edition. Due to the cultural significance of the book, true first editions/first printings of On the Road are quite valuable. But be warned: it is easy to mistake reprints or book club editions for the real thing, so always check with an expert before making a significant purchase.


  • Bookseller: Peter Harrington GB (GB)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: 124324
  • Title: On the Road.
  • Author: KEROUAC, Jack
  • Book condition: Used
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: New York: The Viking Press,
  • Date published: 1957


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On Sep 3 2011, West of Eden Books said:
  "A few years ago, 50 years after its initial publication, and 35 years since I had read it for the first time myself, I loaned my battered paperback copy of On The Road to a young friend of mine who had asked me "What should I read next?". Her reaction was, as I would have hoped, overwhelmingly positive. "It made me want to go hitchhiking" she told me. She didn't go, of course, that's considered too dangerous these days, but she caught the spirit of Kerouac from those yellowed old pages and that made me happy. It made me remember myself from the days before I was twenty. When the world was wide-open in front of me with all my limitless imagination and inexhaustible energy to carry me forward. Those two-and-a-half-hundred pages created in a Benzedrine-fueled typing frenzy spoke to both of us across generations as great writing is meant to do. Jack's tales of Casady, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and the rest would continue in his books that followed but the spirit and zest of On The Road stand alone. Bob Dylan said of On The Road, "It changed my life like it changed everyone else's". Myself and my young friend were lucky enough to experience it that same way."

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Glossary

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octavo
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...[more]
jacket
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
rolled
rolled spine or spine rolled. Damage to a book created by pressure to the spine making it fold or crease in the cover. Damage...[more]
morocco
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also...[more]
spine
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
inscribed
When a book is described as being inscribed, it indicates that a short note written by the author or a previous owner has...[more]
First Edition
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