Monday, July 30, 2007


While in Lowell, Mass. we visited the exhibit "On The Road: Jack Kerouac's Original Scroll Manuscript" in the Boott Gallery at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum. Never heard of him? He is one of the group of writers who started what we now refer to as the "Beat Generation", "beat poetry", etc. His most famous work is "On The Road." CLICK ON THIS PICTURE TO ENLARGE IT.

Kerouac was born in Lowell in 1922 and died in 1969 and is buried in Lowell. There is a monument erected in Lowell in his honor.
The highlight of this exhibit is THE SCROLL. This is the 119 ft. long roll of semi translucent paper that Kerouac pasted together out of separate 12 foot long strips of paper which he measured and cut to fit into his typewriter's platen so he could type continuously without changing paper. This "scroll" is the first draft of his definitive "Beat Generation" novel and is the working published draft of "On The Road." He wrote this book in 21 days. Read it. It is a true experience in many ways.
The photo showing a long table is what contains the scroll. It is single spaced, without paragraphs and is amazing.
This photo shows the bulletin board where people can type messages to Jack on an old manual typewriter. There's my grandson Cooper typing his own message. He had never used a regular typewriter before. (Boy, those were the days.) Many of the messages posted were from young people who seemed truly affected by Kerouac's book and were traveling - on the road - also.


kookiejar said...

That's so interesting that so many young people are still affected by 'On the Road'. My younger son (age 17) tried to read it and found it irrelevant. I thought he meant it was irrelevant to his generation. I guess he meant it was irrelevant to him, personally. *shrugs*

Looks like a really cool exhibit. I'd heard about it and I'm glad someone I know got to see it.

Lynne said...

I've never read "On the Road." And I never heard about The Scroll. Smart thinking to have one long continuous paper in the typewriter.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Very interesting! Funny how typewriters are going the way of the dinosaurs! LOL!