Monday, July 24, 2006

#55



I realize this is supposed to be a landmark novel, a document of a change in American consciousness (or at least of the generalization into the youthful mainstream of a change of consciousness begun much earlier). Perhaps I'm too old to be reading it for the first time, because I found Yawn the Road a turgid, restless, unfocused mish-mash--and I'm a restless seeking soul typically open to freaky drugheads who wander around observing. Yes, there are some frenetic passages that whisk one along with zippy bee-bop language, but the same can be said for Penthouse Letters XV,which no one insists must be read by every senior in high school. I not only disliked it, I found it a completely hateful chore to finish, but did so out of some misguided obligation to the 'canon.'

This novel will be taught as a curiosity in cultural studies classes 50 years from now, if it survives at all. The Academy should cast it aside and focus on more worthy, lesser-known material by far more interesting Beat figures.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, I just bought this book. Seriously, it arrived two days ago from Amazon. Now I am thinking maybe I won't bother.:( Lil SIS

geoff said...

You'll know after 20 pages whether you'll like it or not. The same stuff happens over and over.

Anonymous said...

Who calls these books that suck classics. I have done that 20 times in my life...pick up a book that has stood the test of time and 400 people recommend it and then BAM! It sucks! Of course, the positive person in me must also acknowledge the fact that forty times in my life those same 400 people have been right on in their recommendations of other classics. I guess a lot can be said about different tastes in literature. LS

geoff said...

Usually a classic I don't like at least has an apparent greatness, an undeniable weight I can appreciate. Not so with On the Road; and many consider it one of the most important novels of the 20th century. Um, no.

Anonymous said...

OK but more importantly, what is with the statue by your comment?

geoff said...

Blogger puts it there--it's the same one on my user profile, and it's one of my faves in the Vatican collection.

Seth Anderson said...

And one of those weird Blakean art pieces
Blake's Laocoon that I missed seeing in London by a few weeks.
(here too)

geoff said...

Where any View of Money exists Art cannot be carried on but War only.

Can't deny Blake his title of Prophet.

Seth Anderson said...

Forgot to add that Kerouac might have realized how crappy his novel was, hence the bile directed at visitors in the years before his death.

I wouldn't say that I hated OTR, but certainly is not deserving of the accolades thoughtlessly heaped upon it.

geoff said...

I think I'm too old and curmudgeonly for it. Maybe had I read it as a younger man with a narrower experience I'd have dug it.

Of course the generation 'turned on' by OTR and its ilk helped allow me to be a traveling man, and provided easy access to crazy ideas not widely known in the '50s hereabouts.

Seth Anderson said...

original version of OTR to be unrolled"

Maybe you should read the original "director's cut"....
:)

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