11月16日付けの『東方早報』が２頁に亙ってJack Kerouacの On the Road
On the Road草稿については、
また、 On the Road映画化の話は、
The Scroll Of Jack Kerouac
This article was written by James Eimont
And the next item up for bid, ladies and gentleman, is sale # 9652- Lot 307." This is a common introduction heard on a regular basis at the world famous Christie's Auction House when they are about to auction off one of the many items up for bid. James Christie founded Christie's International Auction House in December of 1766. Mr. Christie was a London businessman who, according to the Christie's website, was "famed for his eloquence and humor" and "turned auctioneering into a sophisticated art form" attracting the attention of both the English aristocracy and even members of the Royal family themselves. Presently, Christie's has several auction houses located throughout the world including their newest house located in New York City's Rockefeller Center. Traditionally, they auction off fine wines, paintings and works of art.
On occasion, Christie's will deal with items that can be listed under the "Pop Culture" heading such as the recent series of Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis lots. The particular item in question, however, is not the usual painting, vase or other piece of artwork that they usually have in their collection. Item #9652 - Lot 307 is a rarely seen but much talked about piece of literary history that has inspired many budding writers to go on their own road, as it were, to find their own voice in the written world.
Christie's International Auction House in New York City auctioned off the original manuscript for author Jack Kerouac's classic novel On The Road. Kerouac, along with Allen Ginsberg (and his poem HOWL) and William S. Burrough's (and his novel Naked Lunch) began a movement and way of life known as "The Beat Generation". On The Road was published in 1957, several years after it was completed and in a totally revised form from what was originally written.
Jack Kerouac was born in 1922, and was originally known for his athletic abilities carving out an impressive football career at his high school in Lowell, Massachusetts and then by receiving a scholarship to attend Columbia University in 1940. An injury sustained during a game forced him to sit out the season. Two years later Kerouac left college to join the merchant marines and embarked on his famous journey traveling throughout the land.
Kerouac's On The Road manuscript is a 120-foot long scroll consisting of a series of single-spaced typed twelve-foot long rolls of paper that have been scotched taped together. Kerouac found this method more conducive to his style of writing. He preferred this instead of having to continuously feed sheets of paper into his typewriter during his famous marathon typing sessions in the first few weeks of April of 1951. He would have marveled at the modern laptop and all that it can do. These writing sessions were the type of story that has inspired many writers to follow in his footsteps. The manuscript has various pencil markings, cross-outs and lines throughout it. The beginning and end of the scroll is tattered (the end is said to have been ripped off by a dog owned by Kerouac's friend Lucien Carr). For quite some time, this rarely seen manuscript has been in storage, most recently in the New York City Public Library.
The scroll was under the ownership of a Mr. Tony Sampas, the nephew of Jack Kerouac's third wife, Stella. When Kerouac died in 1969, Stella was bequeathed the archives. Upon her death in 1990, the archives were passed on to her brother John, who, along with his son Tony, became the executors of the Jack Kerouac estate. Sampas decided to sell the scroll to help pay off various estate debts. Besides the scroll, the majority of Kerouac's letters, manuscripts and writings have recently been acquired by the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, located at the New York City Public Library. The archive was put together by Kerouac himself between 1968-1969.
As an English Literature major I had heard about this scroll for years. When I read that the scroll would be up for auction, I decided to do a little research on the manuscript. To my surprise I found out that not only has it rarely been seen but the much talked about scroll would be up for auction. It would also be brought out on its own road trip, as it were, to be displayed for the first time in a long time to the general public in Chicago, San Francisco and finally in New York City where it would be auctioned off.
An Internet search provided many listings of articles on the selling of the scroll. The media listings included The New York Times, BBC News, Newsweek/MSNBC, Slate, The Times of India and other publications have reported (both pro and con) about the event. Many believe that the scroll should be donated to a library or a university for scholars to view. Others, including Sampas, see no problem in auctioning off the scroll at Christie's.
I decided that I should make my pilgrimage into New York to visit the scroll and see, firsthand, this piece of literary history. I started my journey on the Christie's web site. There I found several pictures of the famous scroll, information on the bidding process and the dates and times that the scroll would be on display. I called Christie's to find out about information on viewing the scroll. They told me that the viewing was free to the public and hoped that I could make it. I took the train into New York. I nervously walked up to the front door of Christie's. "Yes Sir, right this way" said the doorman." Had he mistaken me for someone important?
When I walked in the building, the person behind the information desk told me to go to the second floor and to make a right for the exhibit. I walked up the plush carpeted steps and turned to the right. There it was, the famous 120-foot long scroll that is legend. It was partially unrolled and covered in a Plexiglas case. Slowly I stepped up to it as if I were about to see The Declaration of Independence or The Shroud of Turin for the first time. The scroll had yellowed over the years, had various pencil markings throughout but it was still amazing to see. I saw the pieces of scotch tape that Kerouac used to attach the various pieces of 12-foot paper together. I saw the crossed out lines of writing that he did not want in the final draft. It was amazing to actually read off of the actual paper that he typed on almost fifty years ago. One of the gentlemen working at Christie's was very kind in answering some of my questions. "No, you can't take a picture of the scroll (copyrights and they don't want the camera flash to wear out the ink on the paper). Yes, it would go to bid at 2:00 on the 22nd of May 2001 and would be the last item up for bid that day." He also said that I was welcomed to fill out a form to receive an auction paddle if I wanted be part of the bidding process. Since I do not have an extra million or two lying around I told him that I would not take him up on his offer. Other people were also there to view the scroll. We all just sort of stared at it. It was not going to do anything but we watched it very closely just the same. One couple was there from London. They were here visiting family and read about the viewing and just had to come. Several students of literature were also there trying to soak up some inspiration by being near the scroll (as if touching the Plexiglas case would make you a better writer).
On the way out, I purchased the official catalog for the auction. Inside the catalog there were several photos of the scroll, information and details about the auction itself. The cover of the catalog had an amazing color photograph of Jack Kerouac taken in the late 1950's as he stood in the streets of New York's Greenwich Village. I leafed through the booklet on my train ride home knowing that I had experienced something that I would not soon forget.
The morning of May 22, 2001 had finally arrived; the day the scroll would be put up on the auction block. The scroll was being valued at one million dollars. Up to this point, the highest amount paid for a literary manuscript was back in 1988 when a 1920 copy of Franz Kafka's The Trial was auctioned off for $1.9 million. Reporters, camera operators, bidders and fans filled the 2nd floor room waiting for the bidding to begin. After a few bids the scroll became the property of Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team. Mr. Irsay, a bit of a maverick who does not follow the norm, is a pop culture fan whose personal collection includes guitars once owned by Elvis Presley and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Mr. Irsay says that he will not lock the scroll away as it has been for all of these years. He states that it belongs to the people. For now, the scroll will be put on display at a museum in Indianapolis. However, Irsay has plans to eventually have the scroll tour around the country (possibly in the year 2007, the 50th anniversary of when the book was published) for all literary fans to see.
James Eimont lives in New Jersey with his wife Laisa and their pet cockatiel Kiwi. When not researching for "literary treasures" he can be found teaching English Literature at Union County College.
Beat classic gets on the road at last
By Hugh Davies
Last Updated: 1:01am BST 03/08/2005
Francis Ford Coppola is finally to produce a film of On The Road, Jack Kerouac's Beat generation classic, 37 years after he bought the movie rights.
A script is being prepared by Walter Salles and Jose Riviera, who made The Motorcycle Diaries, a road film about the trip through South America by the revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the early 1950s.
Kerouac's 1957 novel has a similar theme, the story of a sleep-deprived, hitch-hiking journey across America.
The writer, who died at 47 with $91 in his bank account, depicted himself as Sal Paradise, who links up with Dean Moriarty, a fast-talking womaniser he idolises for his zest for life.
Billy Crudup is to play the Kerouac character, possibly with Colin Farrell as Moriarty. But the roles of Carlo Marx, based on Allen Ginsberg, and Old Bull Lee, the William Burroughs character, are yet to be filled.
The original manuscript of the book, on a scroll 120ft long, was sold at auction for $2.4 million. Coppola secured the film rights in 1968 as a rising young director, before making The Godfather and Apocalpyse Now.
He initially wanted to shoot it in black and white on 16mm film. Michael Herr, who wrote the narration for Apocalypse Now, worked on a screenplay.
Barry Gifford, who wrote Wild at Heart, tried to complete another script.
Then Russell Banks, author of The Sweet Thereafter, said during a visit to the Edinburgh festival that his screenplay had been approved by the producer. But he later heard that Coppola changed his mind.
With Salles aboard, the project finally looks ready for production. The Brazilian-born director is seen as an ideal choice for the picture.
Focus Films, a unit of Universal Pictures, is expected to be involved in the creation.
Part of the movie is to be set in San Francisco, close to where Coppola lives. Kerouac wrote of driving into the city and seeing "stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city on her 11 mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time".
A second Kerouac picture may be in the pipeline, with the writer's former girlfriend, Joyce Johnson, finishing a screenplay of her memoir, Minor Characters. It tells of how she fell for Kerouac after meeting him on a blind date arranged by Allan Ginsberg nine months before the publication of On The Road.
Actresses favoured to play Johnson include Scarlett Johansson and Chloe Sevigny. Johnson says that on the eve of publication of the best-seller, Kerouac had to borrow money from her for a bus ticket to New York.
She recalls opening The New York Times to find his work being compared to Ernest Hemingway. She said: "Jack went to bed obscure and woke up famous."
However, fame left him unfulfilled and he died from drink in 1969. By then, he was known to take 17 shots of whisky in an hour, washed down with malt liquor.
Gary Snyder, the poet who shared his home with Kerouac, said recently: "He never wanted to be a part of a cultural movement. He wanted to be a writer."
The myth is that Kerouac, fuelled by inspiration, coffee and benzedrine, sat at his typewriter and in a burst of creative energy wrote the novel that made him the voice of his generation.
He used one long, scrolled piece of paper, and improvised endlessly, just like a jazz musician caught up in the excitement of spontaneous creation.
The reality was that, like the jazz musicians he was emulating, Kerouac spent a long time working on the words. As Paradise, he writes: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live with, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and then in the middle you see the blue centrelight pop and everybody goes 'AWWW!' "