• Carmen Milligan

Anthem of Beat and Counterculture published

On this date in 1957, Jack Kerouac's On the Road hit the streets. It took several years for the author to write, and is about the travels of Kerouac and several of his friends, as they crossed the United States.

While I was in San Francisco several years ago, I went to City Lights Bookstore, social hub for and publisher of Beat Generation authors. The trifecta of Beat Generation literature is comprised of Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959), and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957).


To oversimplify the notions of this group of rebels, they wished to distance themselves from the constructs of existing society, and felt that what should have been the freest of the free, one's body and ideas, were among the most restricted. "Beat" was originally meant to indicate "weary".


As a souvenir of my trip, which turned into one of the best trips of my life, I bought a copy of Kerouac's book.


The novel has made its way onto several "best of" lists, and the New York Times wrote that is was "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat,' and whose principal avatar he is."


So, in celebration of the publishing of this influential novel, add it to your TBR, if it's not there already.

 
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