LOS ANGELES (AP) — When the letter credited with inspiring Jack Kerouac to create a new literary genre surfaced last week no one was happier than an 86-year-old poet and former publishing agent from New Jersey.
For more than 50 years Gerd Stern has been wrongly accused of tossing what Kerouac called the greatest piece of writing he ever saw over the side of a houseboat.
The 16,000-word letter was sent to Kerouac in 1950 from his friend and literary muse Neal Cassady.
After reading it, Kerouac revised “On The Road” in a similar, stream-of-consciousness style.
Although Kerouac was told Stern tossed the letter, it actually wound up in a home in Oakland, California.
Los Angeles performance artist Jean Spinosa, who found it at her late father’s house, is putting it on the auction block.