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On the Road by  Jack Kerouac - First edition - 1957 - from Whitmore Rare Books and Biblio.com

On the Road

by Kerouac, Jack

Condition: Fine/Very Good +


New York: The Viking Press, 1957. First edition. Fine/Very Good +. A Fine copy of the book; original black cloth with white lettering on the spine and front board; red topstain. A previous owner's name on the front endpaper, otherwise untouched. In a Very Good + dust jacket that shows some dampstaining on the verso, one longer tear on the rear flap fold and a couple shorter tears and some wear at the top of the spine. "It changed my life like it changed everyone else's," Bob Dylan said of "On The Road." Jack Kerouac's classic Roman A Clef, published in 1957, was the defining work of the beat generation. It follows the travels of Sal Paradise, a stand in for Kerouac himself, and is based on a series of journeys Kerouac took from 1947 to 1950. The work was typed up on a continuous "scroll" of sheets that Kerouac had taped together. "On The Road" appears on both Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the century and on Time Magazine list of the 100 best English language novels from 1923-2005. "[I]ts publication is 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." (Contemporary New York Times review). Fine in Very Good + dust jacket.


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: Whitmore Rare Books US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: 1586
  • Title: On the Road
  • Author: Kerouac, Jack
  • Book condition: Used - Fine
  • Jacket condition: Very Good +
  • Quantity available: 1
  • Edition: First edition
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: The Viking Press
  • Place: New York
  • Date published: 1957


Reviews

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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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First Edition
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