September 29th from 9 AM to Midnight
Join Secret SLO for a complete reading of Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” in the original scroll format.
This event is free and open to the public. We will be serving food and drinks in our beautiful courtyard behind our office and gallery space at 964 Chorro Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. You can make reservations here (not required but strongly suggested as we are expecting a large audience).
CALL FOR READERS
If you would like to read a section, please fill out our form here and we will assign you 5-6 pages of the book to read. We will have a variety of performance types so be creative! We will allow straight readings, interpretive and theatrical readings, readings with background music of your choosing – even a burlesque act or two to keep with the style of the work. More information on the times and requirements can be found on our performance page.
On The Road was typed on what Kerouac called “the scroll” — a continuous, 120-foot scroll of tracing paper sheets that he cut to size and taped together. The roll was typed single-spaced, without margins or paragraph breaks. In the following years, Kerouac continued to revise this manuscript, deleting some sections (including some sexual depictions deemed pornographic in the 1950s) and adding smaller literary passages. Kerouac wrote a number of inserts intended for On the Road between 1951 and 1952, before eventually omitting them from the manuscript and using them to form the basis of another work, Visions of Cody (1951–1952). On the Road was championed within Viking Press by Malcolm Cowley and was published by Viking in 1957, based on revisions of the 1951 manuscript. Besides differences in formatting, the published novel was shorter than the original scroll manuscript and used pseudonyms for all of the major characters.
Viking Press released a slightly edited version of the original manuscript titled On the Road: The Original Scroll (August 16, 2007), corresponding with the 50th anniversary of original publication. This version has been transcribed and edited by English academic and novelist Dr. Howard Cunnell. As well as containing material that was excised from the original draft due to its explicit nature, the scroll version also uses the real names of the protagonists, so Dean Moriarty becomes Neal Cassady and Carlo Marx becomes Allen Ginsberg, etc. A complete list of name changes can be found here.
In 2007, Gabriel Anctil, a journalist of Montreal daily Le Devoir, discovered in Kerouac’s personal archives in New York almost 200 pages of his writings entirely in Quebec French, with colloquialisms. The collection included 10 manuscript pages of an unfinished version of On the Road, written on January 19, 1951.
The original scroll of On The Road was bought in 2001 by Jim Irsay for $2.43 million. It has occasionally been made available for public viewing, with the first 30 feet (9 m) unrolled. Between 2004 and 2012, the scroll was displayed in several museums and libraries in the United States, Ireland, and the UK. It was exhibited in Paris in the summer of 2012 to celebrate the movie based on the book.
The scroll will be on display at the San Luis Obispo Public Library (995 Palm Street) starting September 21st and will remain on display for about two months.
Additional information on Jack Kerouac and the On The Road Scroll can be found on the dedicated Wikipedia page here.