William S. Burroughs
In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and peddling heroin and other drugs in the 1950s into a work that reads like a field report from the underworld of post-war America. The Burroughs-like protagonist of the novel, Bill Lee, see-saws between periods of addiction and rehab, using a panoply of substances including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, paregoric (a weak tincture of opium) and goof balls (barbiturate), amongst others. For this definitive edition, renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has gone back to archival typescripts to re-created the author's original text word by word. From the tenements of New York to the queer bars of New Orleans, Junky takes the reader into a world at once long-forgotten and still with us today. Burroughs’s first novel is a cult classic and a critical part of his oeuvre.
Acclaimed by Norman Mailer more than twenty years ago as "possibly the only American writer of genius," William S. Burroughs has produced a body of work unique in our time. In these scintillating essays, he writes wittily and wisely about himself, his interests, his influences, his friends and foes. He offers candid and not always flattering assessments of such diverse writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Proust. He ruminates on science and the often dubious paths into which it seems intent on leading us, whether into outer or inner space. He reviews his reviewers, explains his famous "cut-up" method, and discusses the role coincidence has played in his life and work. As satirist and parodist, William Burroughs has no peer, as these varied works, written over three decades, amply reveal.
Originally written in 1952 but not published until 1985, Queer is an enigma—both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch.
Edited from the original manuscripts and introduced by renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris, Queer is a haunting tale of possession and exorcism, a key to the Burroughsian oeuvre, and a novel with a history of secrets.