An 18-page letter written by Beat-era icon Neal Cassady that transformed Jack Kerouac’s writing style will be auctioned off this month as the highlight of a collection of work that could fetch about $500,000 (£317,863).
The 16,000-word, stream-of-consciousness missive, which was shown to reporters on Monday for the first time, was missing for decades until it was found among several unopened boxes in a garage in Northern California a few years ago.
It will be sold at auction Dec. 17, exactly 64 years after Cassady wrote it. The reserve price, at which serious bidding will begin, is set between $300,000 and $500,000, according to auction house Profiles in History.
The Beat Museum in San Francisco plans to bid on the letter and eventually display it publicly and publish it, museum founder Jerry Cimino said. The museum launched an online campaign to raise half a million dollars to buy the letter.
“We literally call it the holy grail of the Beat Generation,” Cimino said, noting that its compact, spontaneous style inspired Kerouac to write his novel “On the Road.”
A portion of the Cassady letter, beginning with the words “to have seen a specter isn’t everything,” was preserved and widely published. But it has long been known that the vast majority of the so-called “Joan Anderson” letter was missing.
The auction house could not display the full text of the letter because of a copyright held by the Cassady family, spokeswoman Sabrina Propper said. A spokesman for the Cassady family estate could not be reached for comment.
Under current U.S. law, work that has not been published remains in copyright for 70 years after the death of the author. Cassady died in 1968.
In the letter, Cassady describes a series of adventures, including climbing out of a window when a woman’s mother unexpectedly came home. He also drew a picture of the window in the letter shown to reporters.
Allen Ginsberg, a seminal Beat poet who referenced Cassady’s antics in his poem “Howl,” sent the letter to a publishing company, Golden Goose. But the company folded and the letter went unread until Jean Spinosa, 41, came across the Golden Goose archives in her father’s garage after his death.
She said she is among a handful of people who have read the letter in full.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)
Matt Gaetz attacks Mitch McConnell for not removing Richard Burr amid DOJ coronavirus stock probe
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to revoke Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.
CNN reported on Monday that the Justice Department is investigating the possibility that Burr profited off stock trades by using insider knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"How can [McConnell] justify leaving someone as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee who is being investigated by the FBI for criminally abusing their position for personal, financial gain?!?!" Gaetz exclaimed on Twitter.
Trump thinks he’s still the star of a reality TV show as coronavirus death toll continues to mount: op-ed
This Sunday, President Trump fired off a series of tweets where he bragged about the "ratings hit" of his coronavirus briefings -- a series of tweets that one columnist described as an example of "complete amorality" as doctors, nurses, and other public servants put their lives on the line battling the spiraling pandemic. Writing for The Week this Monday, Joel Mathis contends that as the country reels from being turned upside down, Trump is "looking into a mirror, asking it to assure him that he is the fairest of them all."
‘Misinformation kills’: The dangerous link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial
Scientific warnings are being ignored, misinformation is spreading, and prominent Republicans have said that addressing the problem is either too expensive or too difficult. No, this isn’t climate change: This is the new reality of the novel coronavirus, the deadly pandemic sweeping the planet.
Over the past several weeks, as global cases of COVID-19 have climbed to over 500,000, conspiracy theories and fake news have also been on the rise. On Monday a man died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, an ingredient in an anti-malarial drug that President Trump had heralded as a coronavirus cure.