In April 1951 Kerouac threaded a huge roll of paper into his typewriter and wrote the single 175,000-word paragraph that became On The Road. The more than 100-foot scroll was written in three weeks but was not published for seven years. Sal and Neal, the main characters, scoff at established values and live by a romantic code born out off the West. They are described as “performing our one noble function of the time, move. ” And to Kerouac, with movement comes wisdom and meaning.
Truman Capote would provide a memorable dismissal of the mythology surrounding On the Road as,“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
While it may have taken fewer than three weeks to type the manuscript, the composition of On the Road started long before. Kerouac began thinking of his road novel in 1946 and first described it in 1948, starting and abandoning many experiments and proto-On the Roads, and auditioning protagonist after protagonist.
Kerouac died of massive stomach bleeding on October 21, 1969, with a pad in his lap and pen in his hand. He was buried with the rest of his family near Lowell.
On the Road was written by Jack Kerouac. It was published in 1957.