Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Variation on a theme

The On the Road scroll. Click here for a high resolution version.

My bookshelf's latest acquisition is Viking's new edition of On the Road: the Original Scroll. (Viking has also released a 50th anniversary edition of the novel, but I don't see any reason why I need to replace my puke-green Penguin 20th Century Classics edition.)

I've resisted most of the "new" Kerouac books of the past several years, most of which are college-student writings or collections of throwaways which are either justly forgotten, or only of interest to an archivist or biographer. (Even Kerouac's first published novel, The Town and the City, is almost entirely ignored in favor of his much improved second try.)

This new edition of the On the Road manuscript has forced me, however, to make an exception. The NYT Book Review speaks highly of it, and the book itself seems to share a character with the Yale University Press's recent lauded edition of Tennessee Williams' Notebooks, which also graces my shelf.

Hypocritical? Perhaps, but there's so much Kerouac crap floating around out there, that I'm looking forward to having something new to peruse, even if it is just a different version of an old friend.

(I've been talking about Jack a lot lately. You can see my other posts here and here)

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