The letters of William S. Burroughs : 1945-1959 /

"Guru of the Beat generation, controversial eminence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet and blackest of black-humor satirists, William S. Burroughs has had a range of influence rivalled by few living writers. This meticulously assembled volume of his correspondence vividly doc...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997 (Author)
Other Authors: Harris, Oliver (Oliver C. G.) (Editor), Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 (Inscriber)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published: New York : Viking, 1993.
Subjects:
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100 1 |a Burroughs, William S.,  |d 1914-1997,  |e author. 
240 1 0 |a Correspondence.  |k Selections 
245 1 4 |a The letters of William S. Burroughs :  |b 1945-1959 /  |c edited and with an introduction by Oliver Harris. 
264 1 |a New York :  |b Viking,  |c 1993. 
300 |a xl, 472 pages ;  |c 24 cm 
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504 |a Includes bibliographical references and index. 
520 1 |a "Guru of the Beat generation, controversial eminence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet and blackest of black-humor satirists, William S. Burroughs has had a range of influence rivalled by few living writers. This meticulously assembled volume of his correspondence vividly documents the personal and cultural history through which Burroughs developed, revealing clues to illuminate his life and keys to open up his texts. More than that, they also show how in the period 1945-1959, letter-writing was itself integral to his life and to his fiction-making. These letters reveal the extraordinary route that took Burroughs from narrative to anti-narrative, from Junky to Naked Lunch and the discovery of cut-ups, a turbulent journey crossing two decades and three continents. The letters track the great shifts in Burroughs' crucial relationship with Allen Ginsberg, from lecturing wise man ("Watch your semantics young man") to total dependence ("Your absence causes me, at times, acute pain.") to near-estrangement ("I sometimes feel you have mixed me up with someone else doesn't live here anymore."). They show Burroughs' initial despair at the obscenity of his own letters, some of which became parts of Naked Lunch, and his gradual recognition of the work's true nature ("It's beginning to look like a modern Inferno.") They reveal the harrowing lows and ecstatic highs of his emotions, and lay bare the pain of coming to terms with a childhood trauma ("Such horror in bringing it out I was afraid my heart would stop."). It is a story as revealing of his fellow Beats as it is of Burroughs: he writes of Kerouac and Cassady in the midst of the journey immortalized as On the Road ("Neal is, of course, the very soul of this voyage into pure, abstract, meaningless motion."), and to Ginsberg as he was writing Howl ("I sympathize with your feelings of depression, beatness: 'We have seen the best of our time.'"). And throughout runs the unmistakable Burroughs voice, the unique drawl that mixes the humor of the hipster and the intellect of the mandarin, as unsparingly critical of contemporary politics - "The bastards might as well tear up the Constitution" - as of his own future biographers - "And some pansy shit is going to start talking about living his art.""--BOOK JACKET. "And yet it is Burroughs' "living his art" that makes these letters so remarkable. For unlike most collections, this one requires and rewards chronological reading, and tells its own compelling story: As Burroughs himself saw, writing Ginsberg, "Maybe the real novel is letters to you." These letters were lifelines for Burroughs the outcast, and works-in-progress for Burroughs the writer, and to read them as they were written is to experience a unique merging of life and letters, the extraordinary true story of William S. Burroughs, homme des lettres."--BOOK JACKET. 
500 |a The Cushing Library/Women & Gender Studies copy was acquired as part of The Don Kelly Research Collection of Gay Literature and Culture.  |5 TXA 
500 |a The Cushing Library/Women & Gender Studies copy is inscribed by the author, and additionally inscribed by Allen Ginsberg in 1994.  |5 TXA 
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655 4 |a Briefsammlung 1945-1959. 
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700 1 |a Harris, Oliver  |q (Oliver C. G.),  |e editor,  |e writer of introduction. 
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