Submitted by Blake on January 26, 2019 - 2:29pm
This is not the portrait of a family man, no matter his desire or intention, but of someone coming apart at the seams. “I wake to more horrors than Celine,” he writes in the Joan Anderson Letter, “not a vain statement for now I’ve passed thru just repetitious shudderings and nightmare twitches.” Seventeen years later, at his death, not so much had changed.
Yes, the letter helped to reshape Kerouac’s ideas on writing; without it, “On the Road” would have been a very different book. But it also framed Cassady as larger than life, which was both a blessing and a curse. “Legacy?” wonders Ferlinghetti. “His legacy is what Kerouac made of him. What else would his legacy be?”
From The Beats' Holy Grail: The Letter That Inspired On the Road | Literary Hub