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'On the Road' manuscript on display

April 4, 2008 at 11:17 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, April 4 (UPI) -- The original typewritten manuscript of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" has gone on display at the University of Texas at Austin, the curator of the exhibit said.

Kerouac began work on the famed novel 57 years ago this week. He initially typed it out on a roll of paper, 48 feet of which is unwound in the center and on display in a custom-made cabinet. Although there is some argument about the source of the paper, it is generally agreed it was a roll of UPI teletype paper, provided to Kerouac by UPI reporter Lucien Carr, a friend of Kerouac and of iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

The book was published in 1957.

"In their lives, art and their love for jazz, the Beats wanted to improvise, to leap into the unknown, the unscripted, the unconventional," Molly Schwartzburg, curator of "On the Road with the Beats" at the University's Harry Ransom Center, told the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The exhibition includes pieces from the center's permanent collection, including letters and notebooks from Ginsberg and fellow Beat icon Gregory Corso, as well as some of William S. Burroughs' famous "cut-up" manuscripts, and first-edition books and posters, the Star Telegram said.

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