"I woke up as the
sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the
strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was -- I was far away
from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd
never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside and the creak of the old
wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and
I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was
for about fifteen strange seconds."
David Perry reports in The Lowell Sun that Jack Kerouac's On the Road
will be republished by the end of 2007 in, get this, its "original,
scroll version." Wait a sec -- the rambling druggy tirade that we
really loved but (and we hope we're not alone here) secretly skimmed
through several chunks of because we were more flummoxed by the order
of Sal's travels than we were trying to figure out the color
symbolism in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man -- that was the edited version? Oh. Hah.
The Lowell-born beatnik left his literary estate in care of John
Sampas, who just signed a contract with Viking/Penguin. "'Incidents in
the original were edited out of the published version because of the
censorship of the time,' says Sampas, who said that at least portions
of the edited sections refer to drugs and sex."
Sampas assures Kerouac-heads that the story about On the Road
being written in a magical 21-day burst is true. However, the author
was a careful note-taker. He spent five years drafting the book, and
two mansucripts went through heavy edits before the book was published
So who is going to lovingly put the misadventures in On the Road
back together again? Sampas has enlisted "a group of four young Kerouac
scholars well-studied in British and American literature to help edit
the project." Before these fresh-faced whippersnappers schooled in the
Beats and beret-wearing buckle down, they're going to take 20 Jägerbombs with Red Bull and flip a candy roll. Because that's what you do when you're serious about your job.