A long-lost letter sent to Beat poet Jack Kerouac, which had been credited with launching the genre, has been found after more than half a century.
The note - an 18-page rambling stream of consciousness written by fellow writer Neal Cassady to his friend in 1950 - had been considered one of the greatest losses in literary history.
It was thought to have been lost after poet Allen Ginsberg lent it to a friend who was living on a houseboat, who accidentally tossed it overboard.
"It was my property, a letter to me, so Allen shouldn’t have been so careless with it, nor the guy on the houseboat," Kerouac told the Paris Review in 1968.
In the letter Cassady vividly describes a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver. It was written in a style which would come to typify the genre.