Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Alan Kennedy (Carnegie Mellon University)
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On the Road

is most often described as the classic text of the ‘beat’ generation, even if it isn’t always clear who or what the ‘beat’ generation was, or is. Despite the continuing fame of Kerouac's novel, these days it is perhaps less read than it is referenced, and some readers report disappointment when they finally do read the book. This disappointment is perhaps inevitable given that this is a book often approached with certain expectations on the part of the reader, usually generated by cultural assumptions about 'beatness' and the state of being 'on the road', expectations which are not always fulfilled and not usually justified.

Many of these expectations derive from the character of Dean Moriarty. Based on Neal Cassady, who figures centrally in the writings of the other

2396 words

Citation: Kennedy, Alan. "On the Road". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 August 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3057, accessed 15 June 2024.]

3057 On the Road 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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