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New Work: ‘On the Road: The Original Scroll’

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Angus Hyland, with design assistant Masumi Briozzo, has designed the UK edition of On the Road: The Original Scroll, a sumptuous edition of Jack Kerouac’s seminal ‘Beat’ novel which is being released to mark the 50th anniversary of the book’s original publication on 5 September 1957.

On the Road: The Original Scroll is a complete and unexpurgated transcription of Kerouac’s original manuscript, written during a marathon three-week session onto a 120-foot roll of paper, which Kerouac created by taping the individual sheets together before feeding them through his typewriter. This publication is the first time Kerouac’s unedited text has been made available to the general public. Along with the restoration of previously censored passages, the text also reveals the real-life characters, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, that became the protagonists of the novel. The book is one of the top five bestsellers from Penguin’s Modern Classics series of 20th century novels and continues to sell over 35,000 copies a year in the UK alone.

Hyland’s design is quarterbound with a black cloth spine. The cover art consists of images of the scroll, with the title and cover text mounted on a removable, translucent belly band. The endpapers use poetic imagery of a desert highway to evoke the themes and tone of the text.

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On the Road: The Original Scroll is published in the UK by Penguin Classics.

Kerouac’s original scroll manuscript is on display at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts, until 14 October. It then visits the hometown of two Pentagram offices: going on display at the New York Public Library, from 9 November to 22 February 2008, then at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin from 7 March to 31 May 2008.

Photography by Nick Turner.