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On the Road Audiobook

On the Road: The Original Scroll

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Publisher's Summary

Here is the legendary 1951 "scroll" draft of On the Road, word for word as Jack Kerouac originally composed it.

Though Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West 20th Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy.

It was not until more than six years later, and after several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac's friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them.

This audio edition is narrated by actor John Ventimiglia, best known for his portrayal of restaurant owner Artie Bucco in The Sopranos.

©2007 John Sampas, Literary Representative, the Estate of Stella Sampas Kerouac; John Lash, Executor of the Estate of Jan Kerouac; Nancy Bump; and Anthony M. Sampas; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

What the Critics Say

"It is a dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, and, stripped of affectations...it seems much more immediate and even contemporary....The novel that On the Road became was inarguably the book that young people needed in 1957, but the sparse and unassuming scroll is the living version for our time." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (431 )
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Performance
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  •  
    metal 06-10-16
    metal 06-10-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great unedited version!"

    It was wonderful to hear the original scroll. Some things said in there were a little abrasive, however it was great to hear Jack's original mindset as he wrote it. it gives the book a more vivid description of the time period hints at undertones not found in the other edited copies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. 05-10-16
    C. 05-10-16
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    "Brings Neal to life"

    Solid narration, especially the character of Neal. The narrator really brings out his eccentricities and depth

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David G. Frick 03-25-16

    One Day

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    "Had the Book on my Bookshelf for 20 years"
    Where does On the Road rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have wanted to read OTR for over 20 years and glad I finally had an opportunity. It was a bucket list to do. Thoroughly enjoyed Kerouac, but how can you compare great books against one another - I can't.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The energy and the seemingly carefree attitude of the beat generation.


    What about John Ventimiglia’s performance did you like?

    Loved the way he intoned the voice of Neal Cassidy - I loved when 'Neal' spoke


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were ha ah moments when they spoke of the cruelty and uncertainty of the future and how police would overstep their authority - made me realize things haven't changed all that much


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy Meyer 03-03-16
    Tommy Meyer 03-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "American Classic at its Best"

    A wonderful reading of one the finest works of American literature - Beat or otherwise - in its original, expanded form. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has read and/or listened to the audiobook of the original published version, as well as to anyone who has not experienced 'On the Road' yet. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart L. Gillen New York, NY 03-01-16
    Stewart L. Gillen New York, NY 03-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    "So good"

    I just love the intensity of this book and its oration! I feel it! I just want to listen again and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 08-16-15
    John 08-16-15 Member Since 2016
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    "great story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    fact based fiction. wild stream of consciousness


    What did you like best about this story?

    old school vocab


    Which scene was your favorite?

    sleeping along roadside in mexico


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    laughed multiple times


    Any additional comments?

    great throw back for any baby boomer

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 05-06-15
    Chris 05-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Superb narration"

    My first experience with Kerouac and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I'm glad I waited all my life because the scroll version is the only one I wanted to know. The narrator delivered the story in the perfect grit and tone that made me feel like he was the author himself, telling me his story. Superb performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Mabry, Jr. 12-16-14 Member Since 2015

    An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like Being Next To a Gregarious Passinger"

    Before I read On The Road, The Scrolls, I read that Jack Kerouack died at the age of 49. By the time I finished it, I understood what cut his life so short. Still, this listen made me wish that every stranger vaccinated with a phonograph needle, who sat beside me on the plane or those who tried to entertain me until the doctor or dentist would rescue me could word smith their conversations as well as Jack.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIYBRID 02-09-13
    HIYBRID 02-09-13

    Cook, Steelworker, Sailor in Viet Nam. Retired after 4 decades as an RN. Share a birthday with Mark Twain and his love of "spinnin' a yarn"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Required reading for adults"

    If you've gotten to adulthood or beyond you owe it to yourself to re-examine where it is we've come from. In high school I quoted Ferlinghetti but forgot to log in on Kerouac's shores. Coming back to it from my perspective of years it knits the progression of ideas that create todays reality more firmly in my mind. If sub-culture had a history lesson this would be it. Anonymous and Occupy and Facebook and Google should read and realise how etherial they are in the big picture of evolution of thought.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dan 11-29-12
    dan 11-29-12

    t p prince esquire international-- Switzerland / USA --Author publisher of adult and children's literature.

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    "taking On the Road back on the Road"

    The original Scroll of On The Road was amazingly inspiring for its warmth, honesty and integretty. I remember reading about Jack Kerouac in my journalism school days at Mizzou but I never really connected with Neal Cassidy till I listened to John Ventimiglia's interpretation of the original penning. What a wonderful, tragic and inspiring charachter he was. I spend my time hitching on the road in the seventies and this reading brought back the freedom and honesty that America once was. Who would have the balls to do those trips today? Who could so openly love and project themselves as Neal did back in the 50s? Easy Rider without a chopper!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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