A report on Beat Generation and On the Road

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
A section devoted to the beat generation at a bookstore in Stockholm, Sweden
The scroll, exhibited at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in 2007

It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations, with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use.

- On the Road

Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959), and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.

- Beat Generation
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Jack Kerouac by Tom Palumbo circa 1956

Jack Kerouac

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Jack Kerouac by Tom Palumbo circa 1956
Jack Kerouac's birthplace, 9 Lupine Road, 2nd floor, West Centralville, Lowell, Massachusetts
His third of several homes growing up in the West Centralville section of Lowell
Kerouac's Naval Reserve Enlistment photograph, 1943
Jack Kerouac lived with his parents for a time above a corner drug store in Ozone Park (now a flower shop), while writing some of his earliest work.
454 West 20th Street
House in College Park in Orlando, Florida where Kerouac lived and wrote The Dharma Bums
Grave in Edson Cemetery, Lowell
On the Road excerpt in the center of Jack Kerouac Alley
Jack Kerouac Alley in Chinatown, San Francisco

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969), known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation.

His first published book was The Town and the City, and he achieved widespread fame and notoriety with his second, On the Road, in 1957.

Neal Cassady

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1944 Denver mug shot of Cassady

Neal Leon Cassady (February 8, 1926 – February 4, 1968) was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic and counterculture movements of the 1960s.

He was prominently featured as himself in the "scroll" (first draft) version of Jack Kerouac novel On the Road, and served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in the 1957 version of that book.

Allen Ginsberg

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American poet and writer.

American poet and writer.

First edition cover of Ginsberg's landmark poetry collection, Howl and Other Poems(1956)
Ginsberg with his partner, poet Peter Orlovsky. Photo taken in 1978
Portrait with Bob Dylan, taken in 1975
Allen Ginsberg greeting A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at San Francisco International Airport. January 17, 1967
The Mantra-Rock Dance promotional poster featuring Allen Ginsberg along with leading rock bands.
Allen Ginsberg, 1979
Protesting at the 1972 Republican National Convention
Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and John C. Lilly in 1991

As a student at Columbia University in the 1940s, he began friendships with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, forming the core of the Beat Generation.

In the first chapter of his 1957 novel On the Road Kerouac described the meeting between Ginsberg and Cassady.

First edition

The Town and the City

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Novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950.

Novel by Jack Kerouac, published by Harcourt Brace in 1950.

First edition
First edition

This was the first major work published by Kerouac, who later became famous for his second novel On the Road (1957).

The novel is focused on two locations (as suggested by the title): one, the early Beat Generation circle of New York in the late 1940s, the other, the nearly rural small town of Galloway, Massachusetts that the main character comes from, before going off to college on a football scholarship.

Promotional photograph of Morrison during The Smothers Brothers Show in December 1968

Jim Morrison

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American singer, poet and songwriter who was the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors.

American singer, poet and songwriter who was the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors.

Promotional photograph of Morrison during The Smothers Brothers Show in December 1968
Morrison, age 19, was arrested in Tallahassee for drunken behavior at a football game
A promotional photo of the Doors in late 1966
Morrison performing with the Doors in 1967
Jim Morrison performing in Copenhagen in September 1968
Los Angeles motel room where Morrison lived between 1968 and 1970; currently covered in graffiti from his fans.
A mug shot of Morrison, taken on September 20, 1970
Morrison and his father on the bridge of the USS Bon Homme Richard in January 1964
Jim Morrison Memorial in Germany (Berlin-Baumschulenweg)
Morrison's grave still without a gravestone at Père Lachaise in Paris, June 1978
Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise in Paris, with the marble bust, June 1981
Morrison's grave with headstone and Greek inscription ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, August 2008
Morrisons’s grave, July 5, 2012
A graffiti of Morrison in Paris, France
Morrison's apartment building in Le Marais, Paris

Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac and libertine writers such as the Marquis de Sade also had a strong influence on Morrison's outlook and manner of expression; Morrison was eager to experience the life described in Kerouac's On the Road.

Most of the few known photos of Pynchon date from the mid-1950s, like this yearbook image of 1953.

Thomas Pynchon

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American novelist noted for his dense and complex novels.

American novelist noted for his dense and complex novels.

Most of the few known photos of Pynchon date from the mid-1950s, like this yearbook image of 1953.
Pynchon, age 16, in his high school senior portrait
Pynchon c. undefined1955
During his time as a US Navy sailor, Pynchon is believed to have served aboard the USS Hank during the Suez Crisis.
V. (1963)
Pynchon created the "muted post horn" as a symbol for the secret "Trystero" society in The Crying of Lot 49.
Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Slow Learner (1984)
Pynchon depicted in The Simpsons episode "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife". His Simpsons appearances are some of the few occasions that Pynchon's voice has been broadcast in the media.

Pynchon explicitly acknowledges his debt to Beat Generation writers, and expresses his admiration for Jack Kerouac's On the Road in particular.