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The Letters of William S. Burroughs: 1945-1959

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The Letters of William S. Burroughs: 1945-1959

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Oliver Harris
genre:
Essays

We gave it an A

”Wherever I go and whatever I do, I am always in the straitjacket of junk,” author William S. Burroughs wrote to his friend, the poet Allen Ginsberg, in 1956. The Letters of William S. Burroughs: 1945-1959 is a recurrent refrain of his early letters, which trace his chronic and varied drug dependencies, his ambivalent homosexuality (”a horrible sickness”), and, most of all, his genesis as a writer. Addressed mostly to Ginsberg, the letters contain chunks of the early ”routines” that spawned Junky, Queer, and Burroughs’ masterpiece, Naked Lunch. As a group, they form a picaresque adventure, shedding light on both the personal demons and lacerating misanthropy that inspired Burroughs’ brilliant literary highjinks. A

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