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How Much of the Driving Did Jack Kerouac Do for His Book "on the Road"?

Author Jack Kerouac did not do much of the driving for his book On the Road. His real-life travel companion on the trips throughout the 1940s that inspired the 1957 critically acclaimed travel tale, author Neal Cassady, went on record stating that Kerouac could not drive.

According to Cassady, in 1952 in Mexico City, he decided it was time to make Kerouac drive; however, when Kerouac attempted to, he stalled in the middle of traffic because he didn’t know how to operate a clutch. Kerouac reportedly said he didn’t drive, but rather only could “typewrite.”

More about Jack Kerouac’s On the Road:

  • It took Kerouac just three weeks to write On the Road, which he typed in one continuous stream without paragraphs as he referred to his journals from his previous road trips.

  • The original scroll Kerouac typed his original manuscript on measured 120 feet (36.58 m) long and is on display in Boott Cotton Mills Museum in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts.

  • Although Kerouac wrote On the Road in 1951, it was turned down by publishers for six years before finally being published in 1957, and then it quickly gained national attention.

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