Friday 5th April 1957
Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, an inspiration for a generation of restless spirits, was first published. Kerouac’s free-flowing, madcap account of several cross-country road trips struck a chord with the freedom-loving youth of America, and brought Kerouac international fame. Regarded as the foundation text for the Beat movement, the way that On the Road was composed is as equally legendary as its spirited story. The entire book was written on a single scroll of paper, made up of 12-foot long sheets of tracing paper that were taped together and fed through a typewriter continuously, so that Kerouac would not have to pause his train of thought. He wrote in fits of inspiration that would last for days, fueled by amphetamine binges and lack of sleep. The entire process took 20 days and ended with a single spaced, 120-foot long scroll.