Length: 2 x 16 m
Heigth: 20 cm
Cover: Natural linen closing with magnets
Edition: Limited to 80, numbered by hand
Printed and handbound in Berlin
All books are made to order. The production time can be up to two days before shipment.
Jack Kerouac - The scroll
Anyone who deals with book scrolls today inevitably encounters the myth of On the Road. Jack Kerouac originally wrote his bestseller on an endless roll of paper. In a three-week creative ecstasy he worked on his epochal novel and did everything he could to avoid being interrupted in his flow of thoughts. His manuscript is almost 40 metres long – we have dreamed of re-publishing it as a scroll ever since we came into existence as a publisher.
Experience the "stream of consciousness"
Reading on the road as a scroll opens up completely new perspectives and impressions. Like the author, the reader is put into a flow of thoughts. Kerouac wanted this uninterrupted “stream of consciousness”. It’s hard to stop: once you’ve started, the novel’s pull can unfold unhindered.
An epic novel
On the Road is the story of Jack Kerouac, his friend Neal Cassady and their crazy and breathless journeys across the American continent. The text has become famous as a manifesto of the beat generation, as the forerunner of all road trips, as the cornerstone of a new beginning. Again and again the protagonists set off, they travel west and back again, hitchhiking, in buses, trains, carpooling – basically no matter, because the magic of movement lay in being on the road and the way was the goal. With strong autobiographical references, Kerouac depicts the realities of life of a small group far from the American mainstream and yet formative for decades of American counterculture and freedom movements. Just as famous as his work, Kerouac himself became the face and leading figure of the Beat Generation movement.
Inspired by the original: The edition by Round not Square (above) and the original manuscript scroll of On The Road (below). On the Road is published by Round not Square in two volumes. Both scrolls are 16.4 m long and 20 cm high. It is printed on a high-quality and very haptic 115g/m2 paper. Produced in Berlin, bound by hand in natural linen and with reading ribbon, the two volumes lie in a black cardboard box. Jack Kerouac wrote on an Underwood typewriter, the typeface of which we used for our typography. While writing, the paper regularly slipped, so that it had to be readjusted again and again; we also retained this special feature.
In May 1951, Kerouac wrote in a letter to Neal Cassady: “Now I have said everything about the road”, and further “have done fast because the road is fast”. He had “written the whole thing on an almost 40 meter long strip of paper … simply pulled through the machine and really no heel … rolled out on the floor it looks like a “road”.
Written in 1951, the work was published a few years later in a strongly revised form. In the first published version all names of real people were deleted and instead pseudonyms were used. Compared to the book published in 1957, the original version is much rougher and unpolished. It is more open in its sexual and autobiographical references and there are scenes which have never found their way into the book adapted to the socio-cultural context of the USA in the 1950s.
The original version, as written by Kerouac on the scroll, was published in 2007 – 50 years after its first publication in 1957 – by Viking Press (subtitled The Original Scroll) and three years later by Rowohlt in Germany in Ulrich Blumenbach’s outstanding translation.
A collectible for your own library
Die originale Manuskriptrolle hat US-Millionär und Footballclubbesitzer Jim Irsay 2001 für über 2 Millionen US-Dollar ersteigert. Seitdem wurde sie immer wieder ausgestellt, unter anderem in der British Library, dem ZKM Karlsruhe und dem Centre Pompidou, Paris.
On the Road ist der erste Roman, der bei Round not Square auf Rolle erscheint. Durchgängig und ohne Seitenumbrüche auf Papier gebracht, wird Kerouacs Idee des „stream of consciousness“ ganz konkret erlebbar gemacht.