The original manuscript for 'On The Road' Jack Kerouac's beat generation novel goes on show at UCD.

A leading figure in the beat generation of the 1950's Jack Kerouac typed the autobiographical novel in just three weeks on a scroll made of sheets of paper taped together. The original manuscript scroll of Kerouac's seminal novel 'On The Road' has been delivered to University College Dublin's Clinton Institute ahead of a three and a half week exhibition, starting on Wednesday.

58 years old, 127 feet long

How the autobiographical, road trip novel was written is almost as interesting as the influence of Kerouac's writings. 

Conservator at University College Dublin (UCD) Jim Canary describes the fragility of the scroll and the care needed in putting it on display. 

Professor Liam Kennedy of the Clinton Institute for American Studies at UCD describes Jack Kerouac as a manic writer typing around a hundred words a minute. Kerouac used twelve foot long reels of paper and stuck them all together to make one continuous roll. 

Professor Dick Ellis of the University of Birmingham describes how the scroll was written in one long paragraph so that Kerouac could preserve the complete flow on to the page. 

The work captured on this scroll went on to become an icon of the post-war beat generation.

In 2001, fifty years after Kerouac completed the script, it was bought by the owner of the Indianapolis Colts Football team Jim Irsay who has made the scroll available for free public exhibitions. 

The exhibition at the Clinton Institute opens on 4 February until 27 February.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 February 2009. The reporter is Laura Fletcher.