On the Road: Looking Back After 67 Years

Travel back in time to the beginning of On the Road and journey with us to discover secrets of Kerouac.

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Five different book covers of On the Road by Jack Kerouac

When you hear Jack Kerouac, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Often, Jack Kerouac and Beat Poetry go hand in hand as well as his most popular work, On the Road. But what catapulted On the Road’s success? Through the highs and lows of Kerouac’s journey in writing, his work now captures a period in time that utilized a new writing style.

Creation and Facing Publishing Difficulties

Before writing On the Road, Kerouac wrote many books, some of his work not being seen or published until the 2000s. Over time, his writing style changed, getting inspiration from bebop artists, which was reflected in his creation of On the Road. Upon reading about Kerouac, he’s also known for having written On the Road on a 120-foot-long scroll and finished the story in three weeks (which is somewhat of a legend rather than completely true).

Through our modern eyes, it can be hard to picture Jack Kerouac facing any difficulty with sending in his work to publishers. However, On the Road was not immediately well-received by publishers, with some even deeming it unpublishable. Between writing his ideas down and going to editors, Kerouac spent about a decade with On the Road until it found a home with Viking Press in 1957.

On the Road Today

While decades have passed since the Beat Generation began and since On the Road was first published, Kerouac’s writing of road trips across the US and the people met in between still impacts artistry today. The Doors’, Jim Morrison, was influenced by beat poets, as he tells a Kerouac-esque story through the song LA Woman. The 1975’s Matty Healy was given a copy of On the Road with writing on it with the date: 1st of June, The 1975, ultimately creating the band name.

It’s clear that despite his initial challenges to get his work published, his legacy lives in through his stories capturing his experience in the Beat Generation.


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