On the Road Criticism

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When Viking published On the Road in 1957, the New York Times gave it a rave review and the book rose to number seven on the best-seller list. In his New York Times review, Gilbert Millstein announced that the book's publication was a "historic occasion." Millstein accurately predicted that many other critics would not agree. Indeed, the critics were divided; some, like Millstein, thought the book was extraordinarily original. Others, like Norman Podhoretz, claimed that the novel was an adolescent, even incoherent, work. There were also critics somewhere in the middle who believed that although Kerouac exhibited flashes of true talent in the book, the novel as a whole had too many weaknesses to be considered a masterpiece.

Critics like Millstein stressed the spiritual qualities of Kerouac's novel. Millstein wrote that the "frenzied pursuit of every possible sensory impression" by the various characters in the novel are "excesses ... made...

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This section contains 842 words
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On the Road from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.