Jack Kerouac's On the Road (A Penguin Books Amplified Edition)

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Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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Big Sur
Jack Kerouac
Illustrator: Rob Admiraal

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Jack Kerouac's On the Road (A Penguin Books Amplified Edition)

Jack Kerouac

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The legendary novel from the postwar prophet of American literature—brought to life as an iPad app with exclusive content for an absorbing and transformative experience

Pulsating with the rhythms of jazz, frenetic sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, this iconic novel defined what it meant to be "beat" and captured the impulses of a liberated underground America. Based on Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends crossing the country in search of a new kind of experience and authenticity that they could not find in mainstream culture. Expressing a quintessential American vision of freedom and longing, On the Road is a timeless tale that resonates with each new generation.

With the complete text of the original 1957 novel at its heart, this digital edition has been curated by Penguin editors, the Kerouac estate, and Beat scholars and includes a set of spectacular features that immerse readers in the book's backstory and legacy—making for a truly unique literary encounter.

Rare and Never-Before-Seen Material

  • Prized family photographs from Kerouac's estate, many published here for the first time
  • Exclusive audio clips of Kerouac himself reading three excerpts from an early draft
  • Documentary footage of fellow Beats sharing their firsthand impressions of Kerouac and thoughts on his celebrated literary career
  • Pages from the journals Kerouac kept while on the road, with notes on the novel's plot and structure
  • Reproductions of Kerouac's first draft of the novel on the 120-foot scroll as well as later typescripts with corrections made by him and his editors
  • Slideshow of cover art from international editions of On the Road over the last half century
  • Extensive collection of original reviews, showing the literary community's reaction to a major new voice
  • Tributes to Kerouac and On the Road by leading artists from John Updike to Bob Dylan

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Publication

  • Previously unreleased documents from the archives of Viking, the novel's publisher, that contain the earliest reactions to the manuscript of On the Road and letters between Kerouac and his editors about its revision
  • Side-by-side comparisons of Kerouac's famous original scroll draft and the published text, highlighting the editorial work that went into his masterpiece as well as the elements removed on the recommendation of Viking's lawyers—including some of Kerouac's most explicit treatments of sex, drug use, and other "obscenities"
  • An expert introduction to the story of the book by Beat scholar Howard Cunnell on Kerouac's writing process and the years leading up to publication

An Encyclopedic Take on Kerouac and the Beats

  • Fully interactive map of the now legendary trips from 1947, 1949, and 1950 taken by Dean and Sal in the book, with historical photographs and notes on the contemporary context
  • Complete text of the 1957 edition of the novel, thoroughly annotated with biographies of the real-life Beats behind the famous characters, notes on their favorite hot spots and hangouts around the country, and explanations of cultural references
  • Gallery of new and classic photographs of all the famous Beats
  • Detailed biography with an in-depth look at Kerouac's personal and artistic life
  • Noteworthy articles by Kerouac on his unique, innovative writing style and the philosophy of the Beat generation
  • Comprehensive list of further reading, including Kerouac's full body of work and an extensive Beat generation bibliography

Additional Technical Features

  • Easy book navigation features, including text search, bookmarks, and the ability to flip pages with a tap or swipe
  • Sidebar annotations alongside the novel hide away for an uninterrupted reading experience
  • Complete app functionality in portrait and landscape orientation
  • Reproduced archival documents can be enlarged to full screen with a double tap

...and much more!

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About the Book Additional Formats Jack Kerouac

"Tricked out with more fancy bells and whistles than a BMW M5...pretty much the only thing missing is the chance to hear the novel read aloud by that sexy-voiced woman from your GPS.... The notes embedded in the text give a helpful run-down of the real-life people and places behind the novel, with photographs that deepen the period flavor.... It's also hard to resist the cool interactive map comparing the routes of Kerouac's own three cross-country road trips, garlanded with corresponding passages from...this most freewheeling of American novels."—The New York Times

"If any release could blow the e-book door open, it might as well be a story of American transformation, unease and reckless abandon.... [and] tattered pages, over-saturated photos and scrawled text look the part.... As readers pore over Kerouac's text and make sense of which fictional name matches up with each real-life icon of the Beat generation, Penguin one-ups its e-reading competition by employing a far more seamless 'footnote' feature.... This photo filled app [is] richly designed by a team that knows its Kerouac."—The Daily

"Great stuff...A three-dimensional look at the novel as a function of process—not just its author's process, but the process by which the book was edited and brought out."—Los Angeles Times

"An informative, even tasteful, accessory...It is in providing the clef for the real-life figures behind the characters in Kerouac's roman à clef and in drawing a detailed map of Kerouac's long road to writing On the Road, that this app shines...a refreshing take on the standard critical edition, with primary sources replacing scholarly essays."—The Millions

The app "does a good job of augmenting Kerouac's novel with videos, photos and biographical information... The app makes elegant use of the touchscreen interface and large screen, too."—The Guardian