Jobe with More On the Road

This month I focused on two big reading projects, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and the earlier version, On The Road Scroll. In Novel Revision class, our main purpose was to examine changes between manuscripts as part of the revision process. So as the story goes, Kerouac typed up his notes on a scroll, formed by taping all his paper together, so it would be one long continuous mass coming out of his typewriter coming out of his brain. I was alarmed to find upon cracking this baby open that Kerouac did not make use of the paragraph, so I devised my own breathers after every 25 pgs (it’s about 300 pgs total, so that worked well). In class discussion we concluded that the more polished, finished work that most people are familiar with reads less like a journal and more like a crafted narrative, with intentional focus on particular characters. It also contained the artist’s additions of metaphor, allusion, and so on, and the removal of content that’s less relevant to this particular story. If you’re interested in American music culture and visions of Americana circa 1947 (as told through the eyes of a madman following and even madderman) this book / these books might be for you.

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