Letters: Vol 1
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Letters: Vol 1

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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 u
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 132.08 x 214.38 x 29.97mm | 562.45g
  • Hawthorn, Australia
  • English
  • 0140094520
  • 9780140094527
  • 77,552

Table of contents

The Letters of William S. BurroughsIntroduction by Oliver Harris


1945
July 24—Allen Ginsberg


1946
September 1—Allen Ginsberg
October 10—Allen Ginsberg


1947
February 19—Allen Ginsberg
March 11—Allen Ginsberg
August 8—Allen Ginsberg


1948
February 20—Allen Ginsberg
June 5—Allen Ginsberg And Jack Kerouac
October 14— Allen Ginsberg
November 9—Allen Ginsberg
November 30—Allen Ginsberg
November 30—Jack Kerouac
December 2—Allen Ginsberg


1949
January 10—Allen Ginsberg
January 16—Allen Ginsberg
January 30—Allen Ginsberg
February 7—Allen Ginsberg
March 15—Jack Kerouac
March 18—Allen Ginsberg
April 16—Allen Ginsberg
May 27—Jack Kerouac
June 24—Jack Kerouac
September 26—Jack Kerouac
October 13—Allen Ginsberg
November 2—Jack Kerouac
December 24—Allen Ginsberg


1950
January 1—Jack Kerouac
January 22—Jack Kerouac
March 10—Jack Kerouac
May 1—Allen Ginsberg
September 18—Jack Kerouac


1951
January 1—Allen Ginsberg
January 11—Allen Ginsberg
January 28—Jack Kerouac
March 5—Lucien Carr
April 24—Jack Kerouac
May 5—Allen Ginsberg
May—Allen Ginsberg
May—Jack Kerouac
June 20—Jack Kerouac
November 5—Allen Ginsberg
December 20—Allen Ginsberg


1952
January 19—Allen Ginsberg
March 5—Allen Ginsberg
March 20—Allen Ginsberg
March 26—Jack Kerouac
April 3—Jack Kerouac
April 5—Allen Ginsberg
April—Jack Kerouac
April 14—Allen Ginsberg
April 22—Allen Ginsberg
April 26—Allen Ginsberg
May 15—Allen Ginsberg
May 23—Allen Ginsberg
June 4—Allen Ginsberg
June 23—Allen Ginsberg
Early July—Allen Ginsberg
July 13—Allen Ginsberg
September 18—Allen Ginsberg
October 6 & 14—Allen Ginsberg
November 5—Allen Ginsberg
December 15—Allen Ginsberg
December 23—Allen Ginsberg
December 24—Allen Ginsberg


1953
January 10—Allen Ginsberg
March 1 & 3—Allen Ginsberg
March 5—Allen Ginsberg
April 12—Allen Ginsberg
April 22—Allen Ginsberg
May 5—Allen Ginsberg
May 12—Allen Ginsberg
May 23 & 24—Allen Ginsberg
May 30—Allen Ginsberg
June 5—Allen Ginsberg
June 6—Allen Ginsberg
June 18—Allen Ginsberg
Early July—Allen Ginsberg
July 8—Allen Ginsberg
July 10—Allen Ginsberg
August 3—Allen Ginsberg
August 17—Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac
December 14—Jack Kerouac
December 24—Allen Ginsberg


1954
January 2—Allen Ginsberg
January 26—Allen Ginsberg
February 9—Allen Ginsberg
March 1—Allen Ginsberg
March 12—Neal Cassady
April 7—Allen Ginsberg
April 22—Jack Kerouac
May 2—Neal Cassady
May 4—Jack Kerouac
May 11—Allen Ginsberg
May 24—Jack Kerouac
June 16—Allen Ginsberg
June 24—Allen Ginsberg
July 3 & 4—Allen Ginsberg
July 15, 16, & 22—Allen Ginsberg
August 18—Jack Kerouac
August 26—Allen Ginsberg
September 3—Jack Kerouac
Early October—Allen Ginsberg
October 13—Allen Ginsberg
November 12 & 13—Allen Ginsberg
December 7—Jack Kerouac
December 13—Allen Ginsberg
December 30—Allen Ginsberg


1955
January 6—Allen Ginsberg
January 9—Allen Ginsberg
January 12—Allen Ginsberg
January 21—Allen Ginsberg
February 7—Allen Ginsberg
February 12—Jack Kerouac
February 19—Allen Ginsberg
April 20—Allen Ginsberg
June 9—Jack Kerouac
July 5—Allen Ginsberg
August 10—Allen Ginsberg
September 21—Allen Ginsberg
October 6 & 7—Allen Ginsberg
October 10 & 11—Allen Ginsberg
October 21—Allen Ginsberg
October 23—Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac
November 1—Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
November 2—Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg


1956
February 17—Allen Ginsberg
February 26 & 27—Allen Ginsberg
March 14—Allen Ginsberg
April 16—Allen Ginsberg
May 8—Allen Ginsberg
May 15—Allen Ginsberg
June 18—Allen Ginsberg
July 26—Bill Gilmore
September 16—Allen Ginsberg
October 13—Allen Ginsberg
October 29—Allen Ginsberg
December 20—Allen Ginsberg


1957
January 23—Allen Ginsberg
January 28—Allen Ginsberg
January 31/February 1—Allen Ginsberg
February 14—Allen Ginsberg
March 25—Bill Gilmore
June 15—Allen Ginsberg
July 18—Alan Ansen
July 30—Alan Ansen
August 20—Allen Ginsberg
August 28—Allen Ginsberg
September 20—Allen Ginsberg
October 8—Allen Ginsberg
October 19—Allen Ginsberg
October 28—Allen Ginsberg
November 10—Allen Ginsberg
November 26—Allen Ginsberg
December 4—Jack Kerouac
December 8—Allen Ginsberg


1958
January 9—Allen Ginsberg
February 16—Allen Ginsberg
April 18—Lawrence Ferlinghetti
July 20—Paul Bowles
July—Allen Ginsberg
July 24—Allen Ginsberg
August 25—Allen Ginsberg
September 28—Allen Ginsberg
October 10—Allen Ginsberg
October 19—Paul Bowles


1959
January 2—Allen Ginsberg
January 17—Brion Gysin
January 17—Paul Bowles
February 20—Paul Bowles
April 2—Allen Ginsberg
April 21—Allen Ginsberg
May 18—Allen Ginsberg
June 8—Allen Ginsberg
Late July—Allen Ginsberg
August 24—Allen Ginsberg
September 5—Allen Ginsberg
September 11—Allen Ginsberg
September 25—Allen Ginsberg
October 7—Allen Ginsberg
October 27—Allen Ginsberg
October 29—Allen Ginsberg


Notes
Index
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About William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)--guru of the Beat Generation, controversial minence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet, and blackest of black humor satirists--had a range of influence rivaled by few post-World War II writers. His many books include Naked Lunch, Queer, Exterminator!, The Cat Inside, The Western Lands, and Interzone.
Oliver Harris edited The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1945-1959. He is currently a lecturer in American Literature at the University of Keele.
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