The legendary Joan Anderson letter (the Beat Generation’s so-called “holy grail”) has emerged! – in its entirety! – after a sixty-or-more year hiatus!
AP’s John Rogers reports today that the “16,000 (word) amphetamine-fueled stream-of-consciousness” note to Jack Kerouac from Neal Cassady will be part of a December 17 auction at Joe Maddalena‘s Southern California auction house, Profiles in History.
“It’s the seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation”, Maddalena is quoted as saying, “and there are so many rumors and speculation of what happened to it”.
Turns out it didn’t disappear on Gerd Stern‘s Sausalito houseboat, as was previously asserted. It made its way (sent by Allen and unopened!) into the archives of the long-defunct Golden Goose Press (erstwhile of Columbus, Ohio, later of Sausalito – publishers of Robert Creeley‘s first book of poems!) and was within a whisker of being thrown out into the trash, before “the operator of a small independent music label who shared an office with publisher Richard (Wirtz) Emerson came to the rescue”. “He took every manuscript, letter and receipt in the Golden Goose Archives home with him”.
And there it stayed, until a mere two years ago, when “Los Angeles performance artist Jean Spinosa..found the letter as she was cleaning out her late father’s house.. “He didn’t understand how anybody would want to throw someone’s words out”.
The extraordinary story of the re-discovery of this letter is quite a story! Here’s Jerry Cimino of the Beat Museum’s account (having previously been sworn to secrecy).
As he notes, the on-line catalog “with all the photos and important details”, “probably goes live on Monday”
More to come.