It was fifty years ago today that The Great American Novel was introduced to the subconscious mind of the counter culture and ultimately to all of America. On The Road, Jack Kerouac’s second novel has been ridiculed by writers such as Truman Capote and held as the herald of a new dawn by others including Bob Dylan.
The novel is about two friends, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty (Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady), and their adventures across the US shortly after World War II. It is written in prose it’s fast paced and frenetic. This is the birth of the Beat Generation with it’s new language of Jazz and Be-Bop meant for Cool Cats and Hipsters. There is a freshness and spontaneity that can be infectious, the rhythms were that of Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie ans Thelonius Monk. It was the beat, the béat. It is the language of the sidewalk poet, improvised and imperfect.