Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On the roll: Kerouac manuscript exhibited
Mark Brown, arts correspondent IN The Guardian, Wednesday December 3, 2008

The original manuscript of one of the most important American novels of the last century, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, went on display in the UK for the first time yesterday.
Kerouac wrote it in just three weeks, furiously tapping away on his typewriter on 3.6-metre (12ft) reels of paper.

The scroll, of eight reels taped together, was unfurled at the Barber Institute in Birmingham, 50 years after the novel was published in Britain.
"We're very excited," said the exhibition's curator Dick Ellis. He said there had been a lot of competition to get the scroll, which is on something of a world tour. "This is an iconic manuscript. It is a record of the huge effort Kerouac put into composing it."

About six metres of the scroll will be on display in a cabinet and while visitors will have to tilt their heads, Ellis believes they will get a much deeper knowledge of Kerouac.
It comes to Birmingham courtesy of Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team, who bought it for $2.4m in 2001.

In the published novel, there are paragraph breaks but in the scroll, there are none. Kerouac did not have the time. The exhibition runs until January 28.

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