Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On the Road

I visited the Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts yesterday with my friend Kyle Tschaen. After a light repast at Ceres restaurant with our friend Randy Koch, Kyle and I walked over to the Center to view Jack Kerouac’s iconic manuscript scroll of On the Road.
It is the centerpiece of a college-wide initiative at Columbia investigating the disparate group of poets, artists, filmmakers and musicians known as the Beat Generation. The first draft of On the Road was produced by Jack Kerouac in a three-week writing marathon. He created a 120-foot-long continuous scroll of semi-translucent paper by pasting and taping together separate 12-foot-long strips so he could feed the it through the typewriter without interruption. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of On the Road, the exhibition offers visitors a rare opportunity to see the original draft, containing Kerouac’s own edits in pencil, and using the real names of those depicted in the published novel including Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. In addition there is a unique exhibit of book covers entitled
"On the Road Around the World", displaying 66 international book covers from different editions of On the Road from the Collection of Horst Spandler. With the addition of a biographical video of interviews and commentary on Kerouac's life this is an amazing exhibit of modern American culture from the mid-twentieth century.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Viking Press, New York. 1957.

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