In its time Jack Kerouac’s masterpiece was the bible of the Beat Generation, the essential prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. While it stunned the public and literary establishment when it was published in 1957, it is now recognized as an American classic. With On the Road, Kerouac discovered his voice and his true subject—the search for a place as an outsider in America.
On the Road swings to the rhythms of fifties underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns, and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveler and mystic, the living epitome of Beat.
“Life is great, and few can put the zest and wonder and sadness and humor of it on paper more interestingly than Kerouac.”
—Luther Nichols, San Francisco Examiner
Common Sense Media Rating: Ages 16+
Pilot (1.1) – 1:13 – Luke’s Diner
Joey: You make that look really good.
Lorelai: Oh, it is really good. It’s the best coffee in town.
Joey: Oh, yeah? I’ll have to get a cup.
Lorelai: Good plan.
Joey: Yeah, I’ve never been here before. Just, uh, passing through on my way to Hartford.
Lorelai: You’re a regular Jack Kerouac.
ENotes (free trial)
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Jack Kerouac reads from last page of On the Road.
On the Road
Movie based on the novel. Watch on Amazon. Rated R.
Yale Open Course Lecture
Professor Amy Hungerford’s lecture on Kerouac’s On the Road begins by contrasting the Beats’ ambition for language’s direct relation to lived experience with a Modernist sense of difficulty and mediation.
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