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Luc SanteThe biggest immediate difference between the first draft and the finished product…is that while we know On the Road as a novel—the great novel of the Beat Generation—the scroll is essentially nonfiction, a memoir that uses real names and is far less self-consciously literary. It is a dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, and, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos, as well as of gratuitous punctuation supplied by editors more devoted to rules than to music, it seems much more immediate and even contemporary&#The scroll clarifies the book's connection to the past—to Mark Twain and tramp narratives and Woody Guthrie and cowboy sagas—and underlines the features it shares with its nearest contemporaneous cultural relative, Robert Frank's great photographic road book The Americans. The novel that On the Road became was inarguably the book that young people needed in 1957, but the sparse and unassuming scroll is the living version for our time.
—The New York Times