Book Sources - Jack Kerouac

(1922 - 1969)

‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac, was written in April 1951 and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work based on road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. Often considered a defining work of the post war Beat Generation - inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences – it continues to influence numerous artists. Though many of the names and details were changed for the novel, hundreds of references in the book have a real source. When the book was originally published The New York Times hailed it as ‘the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance’ of Kerouac’s generation. The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English language novels from 1923 to 2005.

Some other works by Kerouac include:
‘The Town and the City’ (1946-1949; published 1950)
‘Visions of Cody’ (1951-1952; published 1960)
‘Book of Dreams’ (1952-1960; published 1960)
‘Tristessa’, novella (1955-1956; published 1960)
‘Visions of Gerard’ (1956; published 1963)
‘Desolation Angels’ (1965)
‘The Dharma Bums’ (1958)
‘Big Sur’ (1961)

A few quotes from ‘On The Road’:

"I was beginning to get the bug like Dean. He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Ch. 1

"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 that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 1

"Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, but Dean just raced in society, eager for bread and love.
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 1

"Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 1

"And as I sat there listening to that sound of the night which bop has come to represent for all of us, I thought of my friends from one end of the country to the other and how they were really all in the same vast backyard doing something so frantic and rushing-about."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 3

"I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 3

"The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 7

"They were like the man with the dungeon stone and gloom, rising from the underground, the sordid hipsters of America, a new beat generation that I was slowly joining."

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 9

"We fumed and screamed in our mountain nook, mad drunken Americans in the mighty land. We were on the roof of America and all we could do was yell, I guess--across the night..."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 9

"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk--eal straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 10

"A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 12

"LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; New York gets god-awful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 13

"The stars bent over the little roof; smoke poked from the stovepipe chimney. I smelled mashed beans and chili. The old man growled... A California home; I hid in the grapevines, digging it all. I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 13

"We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked at each other for the last time."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 13

"Isn't it true that you start your life a sweet child, believing in everything under your father's roof? Then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with the visage of a gruesome, grieving ghost you go shuddering through nightmare life."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 13