As we wait in trepidation for the film version of On the Road and gently bemoan the news that e-books now outsell paper books, we’ve been thinking about all the many iterations of cover art that have graced Kerouac’s world-changing novel, from the impressionistic to the flat out ugly, from the sexed-up to the somewhat insensitive (a whiskey bottle for someone who died of cirrhosis? Really, now). We’ve already given you a roundup of vintage Lolita covers from home and abroad, so we thought it might be nice to take a look at the vintage covers of On the Road, a book that is — design-wise at least — diametrically opposed to Nabokov’s classic. Think men, cars and broken down diner images, as opposed to the flowers and girlish knees of the Lolita art. Click through to see our gallery of vintage American and foreign covers, and don’t forget to check out Kerouac’s own idea for what his book cover should look like — it seems pretty thematially on par with the rest.
First edition, Viking 1957