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On The Road by  Jack Kerouac - Signed First Edition - 1957 - from Montgomery Rare Books & Manuscripts and Biblio.com

On The Road

by Kerouac, Jack

Condition: Fine/very good


New York: The Viking Press, 1957. First Edition. Black cloth with title in white on cover and flawless text in white on spine. Fine/very good. Octavo 5.25" x 8" pp. [2] 3-310. One of the most seminal, shape shifting books of 20th century literature, Kerouac's book introduced a revolution to not only literature but a social, cultural transition into a more liberal thinking America. Marvelous clean, square copy with only bent cloth at top and bottom of spine. Dust jacket had a tear at top of front flap, chipping along top front and bottom of spine. All expertly repaired to this pc jacket which makes it not only a necessary, but an attractive addition to any Beat bookshelf. "But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a common place thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!" (p 8).

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: Montgomery Rare Books & Manuscripts US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: 62
  • Title: On The Road
  • Author: Kerouac, Jack
  • Format/binding: Black cloth with title in white on cover and flawless text in white on spine
  • Book condition: Used - Fine
  • Jacket condition: very good
  • Quantity available: 1
  • Edition: First Edition
  • Publisher: The Viking Press
  • Place: New York
  • 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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jacket
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
chipping
A defect in which small pieces are missing from the edges; fraying or small pieces of paper missing the edge of a paperback, or...[more]
octavo
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Cloth
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[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]
pc
Partially chipped (dustjacket)

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