Sunday, November 30, 2014
long considered lost, neal cassady's epic "joan anderson letter" written to jack kerouac in the early 1950's and credited for inspiring kerouac's "on the road" writing style - was discovered, intact, in a storage box from a long defunct small literary magazine. as reported by the associated press, the letter will be auctioned off on december 17 -- but the full text has yet to be released to the public.
the 16,000+ word, 18 page letter has been considered the holy grail of beat generation lore. about one-third of the letter has been available because it had been transcribed (probably by kerouac himself) and made public (it's available on-line). but the original had been thought lost - at one point thought tossed overboard from a houseboat.
but the reality was less exciting. apparently allen ginsberg had sent the letter to the "golden goose press" in san francisco - where it remained in the unopened mailer. when the small press closed, the publisher boxed up all the unopened submissions. amazingly, instead of heading into the trash, the boxes found their way into the garage of someone who shared office space with the publisher. the letter remained, unopened, in that box for almost the next 60 years! truth apparently is stranger than fiction!
hopefully, the purchaser of the letter will see fit to publish the full text!