Jack Kerouac: Genius vs. Talent

Writer Jack KerouacAre Writers Born or Made?

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) is best known as one of the founders of the Beat Movement and for epitomizing the counter culture.  His novel On the Road became an American classic.

On The Road Trivia

  • Ker­ouac first started writing On the Road in French (he wrote two other novels in French). 

    Original manuscript On The Road

    AP Photo/Darron Cummings

  • He wrote six drafts between 1951 and 1957.
  • The manuscript was typed on what Kerouac called “the scroll”—a continuous,120 foot scroll of tracing paper that he cut to size and taped together.
  • Viking Press, the publisher of On the Road, paid Kerouac an advance of $900 in $100 install­ments, fear­ing that the writer would squander it.
  • The original scroll of On The Road was bought by the owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team,  in 2001. He paid $2.43 million.
  • The end of the original scroll was chewed by a friend’s dog, making it illegible. Above the chewed area Kerouac wrote,  “Ate by Patch­kee, a dog.
  • The original scroll was published in 2007, It varies significantly from the version that was published in 1957.

On the Road Original

Author Quote: Jack Kerouac on Writing

Kerouac Quote on Genius


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