A letter containing 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950 has been found. On reading the letter, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of On the Road and revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s—one that would become known as Beat literature. Kerouac said the letter would have transformed Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost. Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-plus years.
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