Monday, June 20, 2011

Amplified Version of Kerouac's On The Road

Penguin releases "amplified iPad version" of Kerouac's On The Road (Apple Store) and the title is covered by the NY Times Paper Cuts blog:
The “amplified edition” of “On the Road,” released today by Penguin Classics, certainly comes tricked out with more fancy bells and whistles than a BMW M5. It includes the full text of the novel, of course, with expandable marginal notes giving historical and biographical background. An interactive map traces Kerouac’s three real-life cross-country road trips, with links to relevant passages from the novel. There are never-before-seen photos, rare audio clips of Kerouac reading from an early draft, previously unreleased documents from his publisher’s archive, and a slide show of international covers showing how the book has been marketed from Argentina to Ukraine to China.
The app’s collection of documents from the archives of Viking, which published the original hardcover, gives insight into the intense corporate efforts to market this most freewheeling of American novels — which surely holds lessons for those selling souped-up e-books today. Here, you find an exchange of letters between Kerouac and his editor, Malcolm Cowley, about how to deal with obscenity issues, as well as a facsimile of a previously unreleased internal memorandum saying the book had great fascination and sales potential despite not being “a great or even a likeable book.” (That last part was penciled out.) There’s also Kerouac’s own sketch for an “appealing commercial cover,” showing all the cities visited in the novel cheek by jowl along a single straight road, under the heading “A Modern Prose Novel by John Kerouac.”

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