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Comment: Condition: Excellent condition., Excellent condition dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Edition: First Edition, 1st Printing as stated. Publisher: Ecco / Pub. Date: 2012-02-07 Attributes: Book, 480 pp / Illustrations: B&W Photographs Stock#: 2027572 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974 Hardcover – February 7, 2012

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Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974 + The Letters of William S. Burroughs, Vol. 1: 1945-1959
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006171142X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061711428
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The most important writer in the English language since the Second World War -- J. G. Ballard Burroughs is the greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift -- Jack Kerouac --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

William S. Burroughs was one of the twentieth century’s most iconoclastic literary and artistic figures, an inimitable writer whose groundbreaking work in novels such as Junky and Naked Lunch forever altered the shape of American culture. Now, in this long anticipated collection, editor Bill Morgan takes readers through Burroughs’ correspondence from the early sixties through the mid-seventies, in more than three hundred letters that document Burroughs’ steady drift away from the Beat circle and that witness an era in which he became the center of a new coterie of creative people who would establish his reputation as an influential artistic and cultural leader beyond the literary world, toward multimedia.

Written to recipients such as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, Timothy Leary, and Burroughs’ son, Billy Burroughs Jr., these letters shed new light on the writer’s controversial artistic process and literary experimentation, as well as his complex personal life. Here are letters to new friends in North Africa and Eur-ope—partners in Burroughs’ expatriate life—including Paul Bowles, Ian Sommerville, Michael Portman, Alex Trocchi, and the surrealist artist Brion Gysin, who became a close confidant and whose “cut-up method” would deeply influence Burroughs’ writing.

An intimate glimpse into the private life of an often misunderstood artist, Rub Out the Words is also an unforgettable portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most uncompromising literary personalities.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Greenberg on April 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is definitely lighter material than most of his novels, but if you have not embedded yourself in the Burroughsian universe, this book is not for you! Having said that, I love this book because of its simultaneous differences and similarities to Burroughs' formal literature.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wabbit98 on March 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Beatnik generation. It produced some of the most well know authors and artists, it was also a time for sex and drugs. A chance to experiment with alternative lifestyles. One of the giants of the beatniks was William S. Burroughs, most famous for his book //Naked Lunch// and other works which repeatedly got banned in the United Kingdom and the United States. Now we get to go inside the mind of this famous author. For the first time his letters are being published, a volume covering his early years was published many years ago and this volume covers 1959-1974. Mr. Burroughs was a conflicted man, who constantly had troubles with publishers, friends and family. He was constantly broke and always searching for a way to make some money, so he could continue as a full time writer. Towards the end he felt it was all but impossible for a full time writer unless they had another job. His letters are interesting to read, inside his thinking process. His argument with publishers over money and more. He lived a different lifestyle and was often a target because of it, Mr. Burroughs might be remembered for his odd books. But he knew the craft.
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Format: Hardcover
I give this collection five stars because I think it truly a privilege to be able to read the letters of this unusual man. At the same time I have to admit that some of the content is over my head. However, there is also much that I found interesting. Many of the letters are to his old friend and collaborator Brion Gysin, and there are also letters to Ian Sommerville, son Billy (William Burroughs Jr), Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, mother Laura, Paul Bowles, assorted publishers and many others. Pleasant surprises for me include:
Two letters in response to a proposal of marriage from someone he has never met who is threatening suicide: "I am saying no to your proposal of marriage as I would say no to any proposal of marriage. This is not a rejection of you. Our illusion systems simply do not coincide."
Two letters to hustler/boyfriend John Brady : "And how many times have I told you that when you are in difficulties the `logical' thing to do is always wrong since it is just this `logic' that has put you in the present difficulties."
A letter to Truman Capote: "As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit."

I had really enjoyed the previous volume of letters (1949 - 1959). I found them very readable, funny, informative and they showed me a human side of Burroughs that I simply had not appreciated before. In contrast, I found this collection disappointing, and after an initial look gave up on them until my interest was rekindled recently by Barry Miles' excellent biography. I experience these letters as more detached, more unemotional, more intellectual and I am left feeling somewhat excluded from the inner Burroughs.
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