The Letters of William S. Burroughs: 1945-1959

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Burroughs was itinerant not just by disposition but often by legal necessity (his accidental, fatal shooting of his wife and constant drug troubles required regular relocation), so letters were lifelines for the outcast and works-in-progress for the writer. Here they track his turbulent journey across three continents and two decades, and through the underground scenes of Mexico City, New York and Tangier. Darkly humorous and scathingly perceptive in letters to friends like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, they also document the development of one of the most unique, influential voices in modern writing.

Edited with an Introduction by Oliver Harris

'These funny, filthy and terrifically smart letters reveal him in a way that no biographer can.' New York Newsday

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User Review  - Kirkus

The MTV generation's idea of an outlaw-writer, Burroughs finds himself a minor/grand old man of sorts—which is why, presumably, this book. These letters were mostly to Allen Ginsberg (whom for a ... Read full review

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User Review  - revD - LibraryThing

Necessary reading for the completist & scholar, but a trifle too involved in the minutiae of Burroughs' life to be of interest to the passing reader. Provides insight into the works in progress of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

William S. Burroughs was born in 1914. His first published novel was the largely autobiographical Junky, which remains a classic depiction of the constant cycle of drug dependency, cures and relapses he was victim to for most of his life. In 1951, in a drunken William Tell stunt, he accidentally shot and killed his common-law wife. He is most famous for his use of the 'cut-up' technique of writing and the novel Naked Lunch. His other major works included Queer, Exterminator!The 'Nova Trilogy' (The Soft Machine, Nova Expressand The Ticket That Exploded) and the 'Red Night Trilogy' (Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roadsand The Western Lands). He died in 1997.

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