27 January 2005

The dog ate my masterpiece

Great article (via Maud's guest-blogger Jimmy Beck):

"Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay bought [the orginal MS of On the Road] three years ago for $2.43 million"?!

(Whoa. Does this mean I have to rethink my issues with Indy?)

In 1951, Kerouac spent 20 days of caffeine-induced writing to produce "On the Road." The original manuscript will be on display at the University of Iowa Museum of Art through March 12. It's a 1191/2-foot scroll, typed at 100 words per minute in improvisation so intense Kerouac didn't want to slow the creative train by feeding in new pages. He taped one end to the next.

[Click to see cool pictures of the MS: rolled and unrolled.]


This is the conclusion to "On the Road," which you won't find in the original manuscript because a dog destroyed it.

"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? The evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."

- Jack Kerouac, "On the Road."

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