On the Road, Jack Kerouac’s immortal contribution to Beat literature, became a cultural touchstone for generations of American readers. But few people realize that Kerouac began writing his masterpiece in French. Imagine how vastly different the landscape of postwar American literature would look had he not switched to English. Hassan Melehy and Joyce Johnson discuss Kerouac’s life and work with an emphasis on his constant cultural and linguistic translation between French and English. Hassan Melehy is associate professor of French at UNC, Chapel Hill. Joyce Johnson is the author of two books about her relationship with Kerouac, Door Wide Open and Minor Characters.