The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved

They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, 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 in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ What did they call such young people in Goethe’s Germany?

by Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969)
from On the Road (1957)
Part 1, Chapter 1

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road was first published on September 5th, this day in 1957. The novel describes an extended cross-country journey of two fictitious friends. Kerouac typed out his stream-of consciousness masterpiece in a great, long, solid mass of text: single-spaced, without margins or paragraph breaks, on what he called “the scroll.” To create the scroll, he taped sheets of paper together end to end, to form a long, continuous scroll-like sheet of paper.

Every generation has works of culture that become a touchstones of their era. Alex Haley’s Roots transfixed millions in the 1970’s. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was a touchstone of 80’s pop. Kerouac’s On the Road holds that sort of position. It is a classic book that invites readers to experience America while soaking in the passionate, poetic, matter-of-fact Beat Generation mystique.

More from On the Road

I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future
Sal, Chapter 3

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion
Part Two, Chapter 4

We lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies
Sal, Chapter 8

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5 Responses to “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved”

  1. matt nathanson music fan Says:

    Your blog is nice

  2. E. A. Able Says:

    Thank you!

  3. Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. | J.R.R. Tolkien | Quote Snack Says:

    […] is messy, disorderly, and it lies: hope is not all we need. The poor who are starving and have love are not […]

  4. Weird Work Habits – How I romance coding in notepad | AbleReach Says:

    […] I'll tape all 19 pages together, end-to-end, like Jack Kerouac's original "scroll" for his novel On the Road, but with nested code and numbered lined. Then, I'll use a red pen to mark where the big chunks […]

  5. QThomasBower Says:

    That’s a wonderful quotesnack!